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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2009
There's a point in the recent version of King Kong (Yes, this review is about Nostromo) where one of the characters, reading 'Heart of Darkness'- also written by Joseph Conrad, finally glimpses the dark underlying themes and says doubtfully "it's not an adventure story, is it....?". I suspect some are destined to feel the same about this series, straplined as 'The Epic Adventure' - an uneasy but obvious attempt to make hard-to-target material find a marketable audience. Seen as 'period' drama - notoriously a female-audience thing (personally I'm saddened-and not a little scared(!)- that every other customer who buys this is apparently chasing Colin Firth!) but the themes are all rather 'masculine' - and just to narrow things further you have to be carrying a brain to appreciate them. All this means a well-recognised 'core audience lack' problem and it's a shame, because Nostromo did quite well at being what it was meant to be - and I suspect there are plenty of people out there who did, like me, enjoy it a lot.
Plus I must add what has to be the crowning recommendation for any tv adaptation of a classic: I watched this back when it was first on in 1997, then read Nostromo and lots more of Conrad's books.
Extremely difficult to dramatize, this has to go down as a very credit-worthy attempt. Beautifully shot, atmospheric music from Morricone, some class performances from Finney and Firth and others - with, however, a few notable drops - some of the other acting is variable, even wooden, the script is so-so (in an epic scope, director seems much more at home with his Victorian English than with his 18th century South Americans) and there are a few too many spelled-out unsubtle dialogues that are obviously there to make the plot easier for the audience to follow. But even with all that, it's both compelling drama and easy on the eye.
If you can look past the period-drama hood, the intended underlying themes of the novel are still there to be seen, along with the sweeping feel of a world in miniature.
A last footnote on politics - the story has been rendered much as-was in the novel - much of which is, typical-Conrad, notoriously equivocal. It's easy to nitpick the themes and point out incipient racism or Eurocentrism, but that's totally missing the point. It's part of Conrad's appeal that he could paint his characters and situations, explore 'ideal values' - but still not (rant-like) take sides.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2011
It is so sad that this, the only filmed version of 'Nostromo', has never been transferred to DVD and is generally not easy to obtain. I am lucky enough to have bought the original VHS tapes shortly after watching this excellent mini-series on television in England back in the 1990s when it was first shown. As a teenager I had read Conrad's 'Nostromo' and found it rather turgid and difficult to understand, due to the compexities and convolutions of the plot. But this TV version is eminently watchable and definitely aids in the understanding of the original text (to which I hope soon to return). I found myself glued to this great story of corruption, greed, hypocrisy and venal human weaknesses, and this fascination was brought about by the first-rate acting of the leading characters (Albert Finney in particular is, as always, ablaze with humanity, foibles, yet inner integrity), backed up by marvellously evocative and touching music specially composed by the unique Ennio Morricone. Particular praise should go to Claudio Amendola, who plays the eponymous anti-hero: despite acting in a foreign language (he is Italian), he oozes sexual charisma and screen presence. He is masculine sex appeal on two legs - perfectly cast for this version of 'Nostromo'. The actor who portrays Captain Mitchell is also very fine. In fact, I did not find one actor who seemed miscast: everyone is splendid, and the ending of the story may well have you in tears, due to the first-class acting and the supreme music of Ennio Morricone. I recommend this VHS (which has rather good colour for its age) without hesitation. It is most suited for viewers who are drawn to dramas dealing in the imperfections of man, and which yet give examples of rich humanity even in the midst of moral weakness and degradation. I am happy to give this marvellous version of 'Nostromo' a full 5 stars.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Joseph Conrad's epic tale of greed, politics and war comes alive in this BBC adaptation of Charles Gould's struggle to revive his father's silvermine. This is a very long and difficult book to adapt for video, and in places this shows, but praise must go to the director Alastair Reid who manages to keep our attention throughout the convoluted plot until the final satisfactory conclusion to the story. The large cast of characters, led by Colin Firth, ideally cast as the indefatigable English owner of the mine, and Claudio Amendola, as the fallen hero "Nostromo", produce great performances, bringing the South American politics of business, corruption and conspiracy to life. Filmed entirely on location in Columbia, the dramatic scenery provides a stunning backdrop to this impressive and at times violent tale. This film includes fine performances from Serena Scott-Thomas as Mrs Emilia Gould, and Albert Finney as the drunken but honorable doctor who twice survives a firing squad in order to save the mine and its silver. I recommend this film to anyone interested in the effects of honour, greed and colonialism on the individual striving to be "Nostromo" - "Our Man".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 April 2011
Wonderful movie - it was nice seeing the sister of Kristen Scott- Thomas she is beautiful and a really good actress. I don't understand why we don't see her in more movies. The whole story line was unique and well done. This is the movie Colin Firth was making when he met his wife Livia. She was the assistant to the producer.

I think the only negative on this movie was the size of the horses. They looked so small under most of the actors. But I guess that is the size of the horses in Columbia. Colin Firth seems to ride so well - I really enjoy watching him ride - but on these horses he looked too big for them.

I have this movie on DVD and watch it quite often - it is a really well done movie.
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on 12 December 2014
very happy
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
NOSTROMO is the BBC production of Joseph Conrad's novel of the same title. Set in the second half of the 1800s in the fictional South American backwater of Costaguana, the country's only resource is a silver mine owned and operated by a British entrepreneur. The indigenous people are exploited, naturally.

As the film opens, a local demagogue mounts a popular insurgence against the hated foreigners, during which spasm the mine owner is slaughtered. The storyline quickly moves forward a couple of decades when the owner's son, Charles Gould (Colin Firth), arrives with his wife Emilia (Serena Scott Thomas) to reopen the abandoned mine, make a fortune for the investors, and bring relative prosperity to the local labor pool. Charles is a benevolent exploiter. Gould must accomplish all this in the face of self-serving politicians, greedy army officers turned self-serving politicians, opportunistic banditos, another rebellion, and the disloyalty of a trusted native worker, Nostromo (Claudio Amendola), elevated by Gould to a high level of responsibility. Business as usual in a Third World armpit.
The beauty of the shoot's locations doesn't mitigate the fact that the film is five hours of tedium made possible by a succession of on-screen characters that inspired nothing but yawns.
Somber taciturnity, which was integral to Colin Furth's role as Darcy in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1995), renders Charles just a monumental bore. At least Emilia shows some spirit, but she ultimately has no effect on the outcome of anything.
Nostromo, who's apparently so important to the story that the book and film are given his name, is such an uncharismatic, minor player in the first two reels that by the time he becomes the Great Tragic Figure in the last I didn't care in the slightest.
Dr. Monyghan (Albert Finney), the Has-Been physician that lives in a personally more glorious past, and the venomous snake Colonel Sotillo (Joaquim de Almeida), are marginally interesting for the their first few minutes of respective screen time, then become tiresome because they offer no surprises.
The good friend that loaned me NOSTROMO is aware of my opinion, and called it a "rant". Now that I've put it in writing and made it public, perhaps I'll become a Horrid Person. The bottom line is that any nascent kernel of interest I may have had to read the original Conrad novel was smothered by the torpid pace of this TV miniseries evidently padded with ho-hums to fill a predetermined time slot.
So, that rant went well, don't you think?
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