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4.2 out of 5 stars235
4.2 out of 5 stars
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To make a film out of De Bernieres book was always going to be an impossible task. However, the film that did end up being given the title "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" is very good. It is not the book, it does not have many of the characters and most of the sub plots. Nevertheless, it does capture the feelings of the island and the main characters. The film is visually stunning and the acting is not too bad either. Nicolas Cage, who plays Corelli, does have an accent problem but you soon forget it and just enjoy the film. Penelope Cruz (Pelagia) is good and plays her part well. However, John Hurt emerges as the true star in this film. His Greek accent is amazing and his acting superb. Overall, this film is very good and deserves to be watched.
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CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN is based on the book of the same title by Louis De Bernieres. "Based", at its loosest definition, is the operative term here. I would estimate that about 60% of the film has been faithfully translated from the book, the remainder being concocted from scratch to enhance the dramatic elements for an audience's short attention span. On the other hand, about 50% of the original, written version has been ignored. When one realizes that the film depicts a time span of about 7-8 years, while the novel's plot spans over 50, then this truncation is not unexpected.
CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN is a truly excellent literary piece. The screen adaptation is ...well, not bad, especially if it's your first exposure to the story. The main character is Pelagia, a young woman growing up with her widowed father on the Greek island of Cefallonia during World War Two, and who loves two men: Mandras, a neighbor who fights both with the Greek Army and the partisans, and Captain Antonio Corelli, an officer serving with the Italian occupying force. Generally speaking, both the book and the film examine the effects of the conflict on all four. The vast difference is in the particulars.
Since the cinematic version was photographed entirely on Cefallonia itself, what it accomplishes superbly is to enable you to visualize the locales if you subsequently read the book for the first time, or again. (Not surprisingly, Pelagia's house, the village, and the beach were everything I'd imagined them to be in my mind's eye. This was most satisfying.) Moreover, Nicolas Cage is a perfectly adequate personification of the charming, music loving Captain Corelli. (Indeed, I understand that Cage learned to play the mandolin specifically for the role.) And, from this male's point of view, gorgeous Penélope Cruz is absolutely exquisite as Pelagia. The best role is John Hurt's as Pelagia's physician father, Iannis, who's at his most excellent in a scene wherein he imparts wisdom to his daughter on the nature of Love vs. Falling In Love. Also very good is David Morrissey as Captain Weber of the German Wehrmacht, ultimately devastated by the conflicting demands of friendship and duty. Less successfully, Christian Bale is cast in the role of Mandras, a credit of dubious distinction since that character has been completely gutted in the transition from the novel to the silver screen. (If I were Bale, I'd sue.) And nowhere to be seen is the novel's comic relief: Psipsina, Pelagia's pet pine marten.
I liked this movie well enough. But sometimes a canvas painstakingly painted with small brushes and soft pastels has more appeal than the same oil dashed off with wide brushes and loud colors. The joy is in the subtlety and nuances of the details and shading. See the film if you have the opportunity, but do yourself a favor and make time to read the source material.
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on 19 April 2002
I have not read the book but cannot agree with a reviewer that thinks the film is dreadful. The scenery was out of this world, the music haunting, the plot was a little Hollywood with the usual good guys, bad guys and a happy ending. Irene Papas was and is the quintessential Greek woman for me, I can imagine her in any of the Greek tragedies. I thought John Hurt was superb and totally belivable as a Greek, he always puts 100% into his acting but this time he outdid himself. Admittedly Nicolas Cage's accent was terrible but you soon forgot it! I thoroughly enjoyed the film and will watch it more than once I am sure.
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on 6 April 2002
The film was but a short review of the book,after visiting the Island and reading the book I was pleased with the eventual outcome. The acting especially John Hurt was so real of the greek man,Penelope Cruz was magnificent in the way she portrayed Pelagia, in love, in sadness, in doubt of the way she was meant to behave in the time of invasion. Nicolas Cage was indeed the man for the part, Captain Corelli was played with that touch of Italian humour and nostalgic love appeal needed by the woman of the times. The ending was short in reflection to the book but the film version gave the scenic spleandour no book could ever give. I recommend this film to those who like good film scores, wonderful scenery and a cast which truly played out the characters heartaches and longings in times of oppression, but these are my personal views, I love the Island of Cephallonia, I loved the book, the film completed the dream.
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on 30 December 2001
Captain Corelli suits the film lover of both action and romance! It has a good love story as a theme with the strong idea of murder and war. There are good scenes of the powerful war and the traquility of the little Greek island!
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on 24 May 2002
It would have been virtually impossible for all the detail included in de Bernières' original to be depicted in a film, and so to compare the two would be somewhat unfair. It is true to say that both plot and sub-plot lost something through adaptation, but this film definitely serves its purpose as a war-time romance, the mystery of Cephallonia adding to its overall charm. Cage, Cruz and Hurt are magnificent in portraying the passion and emotion of their respective characters in terms of nationality, and in doing so create a thoroughly diverse and enjoyable cast.
My only criticism is concerned with the romantic aspect of the film; the duration of Corelli's absence was far longer in the novel, thus extending Pelagia's despair and consequently making their eventual reunion more powerful.
In short, do not be led to expect the novel. Instead, enjoy the beauty, the humour and above all, the romance of this adaptation, perfect for a quiet evening in.
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on 24 February 2002
I saw this film originally in the cinema and although it admittedly deviates from Berniere's book, the main thread of romantic wartime tragedy is marvellously maintained assisted by a captivating score - Cage actually learned to play the mandolin!
Critics may suggest an alternative cast, but where would one find Greek and Italian actors convincing and appealling enough to an American and Western European audience? The Cruz-Cage age gap is only important to those jealous of close contact with the Mediterranean beauty! John Hunt could not have been surpassed.
The eventual filming in Kefallonia instead of USA resulted in stunning scenery and convincing wartime sets.
My wife and I were so impressed by the movie we actally travelled to Kefallonia for our anniversary but admittedly took our own (French) champagne to celebrate on 'Corelli's' beach. Thankfully, no Turkish mine but still lots of Germans around.
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on 6 January 2014
I have not read the book but I did enjoy this film,a decent love story set during the war and some humour also,probably not enough war action in it for me to give 5 stars but its a very good film thats sort of a true story,im presuming the war side is as true as it gets and you got to feel for the italians as they are betrayed by the germans when they surrender,and how the germans treated the greeks also presuming as I have not read the book that the love story is an added bonus to the book and film like the couple in pearl harbour didnt exist as the love story in titanic was made up?....
This is an enjoyable two hour film with a great cast of nick cage, pen cruz ,christian bale, john hurt and david morrissey and a small role for irene papas who I remember her in the guns of navorone.
I would upgrade this film but im not sure if its available on bluray
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on 7 April 2011
Just loved the book and ordered the dvd and it was a captivating from start to finish although it had a different ending from the book the film was still great. The scenery Kefalonia was utterly stunning and it done justice to the greek who were tortured by the nazis. Just loved it.
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on 1 August 2012
Although I saw this in the cinema several years ago it is one of those films that you can watch again & again. it also gives an insight into soldiers who didn't want to massacre hundreds of innocent people and the ruthless destruction of a beautiful island for the sake of "Power"
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