I just had to write a review for The English Patient as it is my all-time favourite film. I was entranced from the first time I saw it at the cinema with it's beautiful cinematography, sweeping score and accomplished acting - and I can still totally lose myself within the story when seeing it on DVD.
The storyline is that a man (Ralph Fiennes) is pulled from the wreckage of his burning plane in the desert during WW2 and comes to be cared for by an army nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) who herself is traumatised from losing many close to her. They come to convalesce in an Italian villa and the injured man slowly recalls the past events leading to his crash, in particular his affair with a colleague's wife (Kristin Scott Thomas) and how their betrayals came to have grave consequences. The story is adapted from the Booker winning novel by Michael Ondaatje, and the film itself was showered with oscars for everything except the main actors (they were robbed!).
The director, Anthony Minghella, particularly merits praise - he has an assured eye for how a scene should be composed and the North African desert and Italy have been beautifully filmed. The storyline is very engaging - Minghella wrote the screenplay (which won an oscar...ahem, I mean bafta ;) and, having also read the book, I do feel that his adaptation works particularly well in that he has managed to distil the essence of the book and present it in a format suitable for film rather than just try to portray the book as it was written.
When first released, comparisons were made to Dr Zhivago, and it is easy to see why. The English Patient has the same style of epic story-telling whilst remaining focused on the characters and how they live their lives amidst turbulent times. Highly recommended - and this two disc edition with its commentaries, deleted scenes, making-ofs and interviews is a superior package to the original release which had no extras.