October 8th, 2003


Cold Mountain

Went to see a preview screening of Cold Mountain tonight with irnbruise. Quite a cast - Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Natalie Portman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and several more well known actors. It was directed by Anthony Minghella, who directed several movies I've never seen, including the English Patient and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

The movie's based off a book, which I'll be reading at some point in the not-too-distant future, and basically tells the story of a pair in love during the Civil War, with Jude Law playing a bearded soldier (he took to the beard quite nicely, but his accent and voice didn't quite work as well) and Nicole Kidman playing a goateed soldier (ok, just kidding, she only had sideburns and an eyepatch). Renee Zellweger plays Nicole's annoying sidekick/roommate, in a classic riff off of the Odd Couple, and Hoffman plays a horny preacher. Natalie Portman has an interesting turn as a single mother, as well.

The movie, in its present state, is way too long, and way too emotional. I'm all for a sappy romantic movie, but I hate feeling manipulated, and this movie is as manipulative as can be. It reminds me a bit of an M. Night Shyamalan movie in that way, like Signs - it's not content to just let you feel an emotion in reaction to a scene, it has to tell you what to feel, remind you to feel it, and just in case you forgot, remind you again by smashing it into your face until you die. The movie's also a bit slow, and painfully predictable.

Having said all of that, there are some decent performances, and some nice cinematography, and overall it's not bad. With some edits and some work it could be an excellent movie, but I'm guessing it won't be more than just good (and an Oscar shoe-in) by the time it's released. Oh well.
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