Luscious cinematography and even more luscious stars make Tristan & Isolde
a feast for the eyes. Adapted from the medieval love story, the movie begins with with young Tristan (played as a child by Thomas Sangster, Love Actually
) as he sees his parents killed by the tyrannical Irish, who ruled over a fractured Britain after the Roman occupation. Taken in by Marke (Rufus Sewell, Dark City
), who rules one of the British tribes, Tristan (James Franco, Spider-Man
) grows up to be a young prince and a mighty warrior--and when he's believed slain in battle, he's given a royal funeral, which sends him out sea in a burning boat. But the fire goes out and Tristan washes ashore on Ireland, where Isolde (Sophia Myles, Art School Confidential
), the daughter of the Irish king, nurses him back to health. Being a lovely pair of young folk bursting with hormones, they fall madly in love... and set in motion a tragic tale that's lasted for centuries in many variations. Some reviewers have criticised Tristan & Isolde
for deviating from the most common classical version, but the movie's storyline--though certainly altered to appeal to modern audiences--is fairly strong. Myles and especially Sewell turn in strong performances; Franco, however, though surprisingly persuasive as a warrior, never burns as a lover. Nonetheless, the loving shots of Franco's muscular physique will make this a must-have for his fans. --Bret Fetzer
Action adventure set after the fall of the Roman Empire. The warlords of England are brutally kept in line by the forces of Irish King Donnchadh (David O'Hara). One of these leaders, Lord Marke (Rufus Sewell), seeks to unite the English tribes to form one strong nation to rule itself. His greatest knight is Tristan (James Franco), whom Marke raised since he was orphaned in an Irish attack that also took its toll on Marke's family. With Tristan by his side, Marke believes he can unify his people and rid England of Irish rule. But Tristan harbours a terrible secret...