Cold Mountain Reviews
Saw this on 4/6/16
Though overlong, the extremely well shot anti-war romantic film has enough brutal images (of war) and romantic heft packed with a good cast. The scenaries and the cinematography is splendid and it gives the film an epic touch.
In Cold Mountain North Carolina the news of the Civil War starts emerging and it quickly becomes apparent the south will be in the area drafting troops. Inman and Ada are a young couple just getting to know each other but they know they're in love and meant to be. The day of their first kiss will be the last time they see each other before Inman is sent to war. After 4 years of bloodshed and lost brothers, Inman heads home to hopefully marry the love of his life; however, the journey may be more challenging than he anticipates.
"Ain't no man around here better than me, because there ain't no man around here that ain't old or full of mischief."
Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Mr. Wonderful, Breaking and Entering, and Truly Madly Deeply, delivers Cold Mountain. The storyline for this picture is outstanding and a brilliant epic of life during the civil war. It was very brutal in some ways and a beautiful love story in others ways. The acting is perfect and the cast delivers breathtaking performances and includes Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Natalie Portman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brendan Gleeson, and Donald Sutherland.
"Was there something special you wished to say to me?"
"Nothing particular comes to mind."
I had not watched this in a long time but always remembered it being a great movie. I recently watched this again off Netflix and still found it so well done. The settings, characters, script, and storyline are all perfectly done. I strongly recommend seeing this picture and it is borderline worth adding to your DVD collection.
"I am going to make him hug me until I grunt."
Cold Mountain is one of those epics that just doesn't quite come together and set off a spark. It has since been vilified unfairly; I once saw it described as one of the most boring movies ever made, which it certainly isn't. But it is heavy-handed, a bit stodgy at times, and uncertain of everything other than its female centrism. Something, or more than that, just isn't clicking. So what it wrong? It is most likely a collaborative issue, rather than a few individuals. Anthony Minghella hasn't made it come off right for sure, and I would suspect it is more the team at the helm than the actors. However, Jude Law is a bit of a weight on the film. He is emblematic of the piece, in that he isn't bad exactly, but he seems to be flailing around and not quite finding success. There is some strikingly horrific Civil War imagery at the beginning, followed by a terrific scene where a dying boy asks a fiddler to play him a song that would make him feel like he was at a creek back home. But the strength of the film, and the central message, is in and about the defenseless people left behind. The men going off to war leaving behind women in physical and psychological deprivation It is a very real fact of war throughout history. What is interesting about how it is described here is the separation of male and female identity in a time of war, the idea of female experience as an alien thing to a world built and summarily destroyed by men. This is the idea that does get through when much of the film isn't coming together, and the film's shoulders rest on the women. The scene with the woman whose crying baby is left to die in the cold by sadistic Union soldiers is almost impossible to watch, but is the purest distillation of the central theme. Cold Mountain is mostly about the relationship between Nicole Kidman's southern belle and Renee Zellweger's hearty Appalachian lass. Kidman holds her own, she has that willowy elegance that is suited to a role of this type. Most of the press went to Renee Zellweger, whose showy acting won an Oscar, but who has since been mocked. I think she is not Oscar-caliber, but is not at all bad. It is a presentational style of performance with some campy, flouncy touches, but it is also full of the kind of fierceness this movie needs. The best performance here is by Ray Winstone, scary and very believable as the head of a group of thuggish confederate soldiers who've hung around the titular mountain town to control its resources and terrorize people. He is memorably menacing in this movie, and there are scenes with his psychopathic, ghostly blond henchman that are very difficult to watch. Its a tough movie, and and ungainly one, but one with enough good elements that it is worth seeing, not least of which is the lovely music, both in the film and the credits. Donald Sutherland is also very good in a small role.