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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We both know it cannot be."
Tristian and Isolde is epic, old-fashioned, and handsomely produced and it features some of the best period detail I've ever seen in an historical film. Yes, it's often silly and corny, but the overall effect is one of eloquence and restraint with Director Kevin Reynolds, expertly capturing the political and tribal atmosphere of post-Roman Britain.

When the...
Published on 29 April 2006

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great torso, bad acting
Tristan and Isolde, one of the great medieval love stories turned rather sadly here into something out of a rather over-blown soap opera.

I always adore Rufus Sewell but he's very under-utilised and given some terrible lines. James Franco looks beautiful from the neck down, but really that trembling lip and set jaw to express all emotions from anger to angst to...
Published on 23 Feb 2009 by Roman Clodia


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "We both know it cannot be.", 29 April 2006
Tristian and Isolde is epic, old-fashioned, and handsomely produced and it features some of the best period detail I've ever seen in an historical film. Yes, it's often silly and corny, but the overall effect is one of eloquence and restraint with Director Kevin Reynolds, expertly capturing the political and tribal atmosphere of post-Roman Britain.

When the Romans left Britain in around 430AD, the country was left weak and fragile. The preyed-upon tribes, the Jutes, Angles, Saxons and Celts, among others, were yearning to unite against the region's Dark Ages dominant power, Ireland. Tristian (James Franco) finds himself caught up in this battle, when as a boy, Britain's powerful Lord Marke (an excellent Rufus Sewell), rescues him from a certain death after his parents are killed in an Irish attack.

Meanwhile, over on the west coast of Ireland, the lovely Isolde (Sophia Miles) is mourning the loss of her beloved mother who died by "ill vapors," leaving her at the mercy of her brutal father, the Irish King Donnchadh (David Patrick O'Hara), who is more concerned with using his gorgeous daughter for political expediency. When Tristian is mistaken for dead, and ends up shipwrecked in the Irish coast, Isolde finds him, nurses him - and loves him - without revealing her royal identity.

When his cover is blown, Tristian is forced back to Britain and when the couple next meet, she's the surprise "prize" wife, who will be donated to the winner of a tribes-of-Britain gladiatorial showdown, won by an unsuspecting Tristan on behalf of Lord Marke. Numerous torn loyalties, treacherous schemes, broken hearts, and bloody battles follow.

There are also a few romantic interludes, where Tristian and Isolde realize that they must be together, even though they are life-bound to fulfilling their respective duties. What makes this version so good is that it's not all about love, with Reynolds really giving us a feel for the political machinations of the time and the constant tensions between the Irish and the Brits and the various warring tribes

The film also features large chunks of professionally done action, including fierce attacks, clandestine ambushes and copious amounts of bitter, life sworn enemies welding their mighty swords. The film is convincing and gorgeous to look at courtesy of cinematographer Arthur Reinhart and production designer Mark Geraghty. They really make us feel we're in a reasonable fantasy facsimile of Britain circa AD 500.

The acting is solid, although Franco is a bit too much the moony moist-eyed mope as Tristan, and his performance is a bit too repetitious, but he certainly looks the part with his flowing locks of hair. Myles is excellent playing Isolde as an impulsive yet intelligent woman torn between duty and passion. And Sewell is a standout as the sympathetic Lord Marke; he's a kind, loving man and a visionary who's woefully blind as a man in love. Sewell deftly plays the climactic scenes as Marke progresses from betrayal to outrage to resignation.

While watching Tristian and Isolde I was reminded of the terrific 1981 film Excalibur that had the same kind of gritty sensibility. Obviously one can't compare them, as they are entirely different stories taking place at different times in England's history, but there is a certain similarity between them. The music and the set pieces and the costumes of both movies really make you believe you've traveled back in time. Mike Leonard April 06.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honour and Love, 3 May 2009
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
I was very impressed with "Tristan and Isolde". It is a touching love story that is filmed beautifully and acted superbly. The film is set in the Dark Ages in a divided England under the yoke of Irish oppression. Tristan is a young warrior brought up by Lord Marke , a sort of stepfather, following his parents deaths at the hands of the Irish. Tristan is presumed dead after a battle and his corpse is sent out to sea in a boat, but he lands in Ireland and is restored to health by the beautiful Irish princess, Isolde. Tristan returns to England , but Isolde eventually follows him , ending up getting married to the kindly Lord Marke. However Tristan and Isolde's affair continues and this ends up causing all sorts of problems for both the English and the Irish kings and their tenuous political alliance. "Tristan and Isolde" is one of the best love stories that I have seen for a long time and the film oozes quality throughout.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Love That Will Destroy a Kingdom?, 7 Nov 2006
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C. Leenhouwers "claireann82" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
I couldn't drag my boyfriend to the cinema to watch this so as soon as it came out on DVD I organised a girly night in and my best friend and I watched it. We both agreed that Tristan and Isolde is a great love story but even more heartwrenching than Romeo and Juliet or Wuthering Heights. The simple difference between the aforementioned and Tristan and Isolde is that honour is more important to Tristan than it is to Romeo or Heathcliffe. And......Tristan's father figure is not an ogre so it's impossible to take Tristan's side in saying that Isolde shouldn't be with him! As we watched the film we became ever more frustrated because it simply wasn't fair! Rufus Sewell was on top form as usual and James Franco was gorgeous! Girls watch it but be warned, it isn't for the faint hearted!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply blown away, 21 Dec 2006
This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
I cannot express just how much I loved this movie! The epic backdrop of scenes from the Irish coast and the Czech Republic (presented as England in the movie!) simply took my breath away! James Franco as Tristan of course steals the show with his portrayal of a man torn between honour, duty, and his one true love. Rufus Sewell as Lord Marke was as brilliant as I always expect him to be and Sophia Myles as Isolde was absolutely stunning! This is one of the true greats up there with Gladiator and should have received a much better response than it did! A timeless classic that you'll never forget
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duty? Honor? Love?, 20 July 2007
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R. Twinn (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
A romance/somewhat action flick. Tristan and Isolde share there story, proving that they have a shot, at the greatest lovers in history title.
James Franco ( Tristan ) gives a strong performance throughout, as we follow him trying to deal with his feelings for Isolde, played beautifully by Sophia Myles. Learning they can never be together, they don't take it lying down and steal as many moments as they can together. Surely this can't have a good ending? Then again what good love stories do? Having never heard of the story before this, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it really is worth a look!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Emotive Tale, 12 Dec 2010
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This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
An adventure full of genuine action portraying the times, one could imagine of the dark ages, full of tribal anglo-irish battles. The characters have depth and complexity that lend emotional turmoil to victories as weel as the miseries of defeat. The two main characters that the film revolves around pull the viewer closer in to the desparation felt between the two, ending in a heart-renching tragedy that is difficult to forget.
Other reviews are less appreciative to this film which is difficult to understand, why?; because the action is full-bodied, providing real entertainment not even seen in more notable movies of this type. This is an all-time gem, a lasting favourie to be sure.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tristan & Isolde with James Franco and Sophia Myles, 10 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
I have just finished wiping the tears from my eyes. How the American film industry must secretly envy the English acting ability, however the American actors have done very, very well indeed - little hint of American drawl - actually I cannot remember any...
The acting is brilliant, the scenery authentic and the action is not bad at all. The very fact this is not Hollywood Kitsch is refreshing.
I was very moved. An ancient tale told well and probably would have been most appreciated in the mead halls of old, (if they had had TV that is!). ...Off now to listen to Wagners version!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful, 11 Sep 2010
This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
This is just my type of film. love is always best portrayed against a backdrop of bloody conflict and in this film the sweeping, mist filled panoramas perfectly reflect the couples emotional state.
it is an ancient tale, studied by undergrads everywhere, and here it is brought dramatically alive. Rufus Sewell puts a thought provoking, sensitve slant to the role of King Mark and Myles is superb as Isolde. It was a huge relief to discover that the movie has not spoiled the poem but embellishes it just enough to appeal to a modern audience.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful retelling of one of our oldest legends., 5 Nov 2006
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Mrs B (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
This is an excellent version of the ancient legend of Tristan and Isolde; a dramatic love story with many other themes such as betrayal and loyalty running through it. Although filmed on a small budget, it has the feel of an epic, with a strong cast, exciting and varied battle scenes and some stunning locations, such as remote Irish coastland. It was also interesting to see the interpretation of how Britain looked after the Romans fled and left us to it. There are many twists and turns in the film which will keep you hooked, particularly if you are new to the tale of Tristan and Isolde.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Engaging Tale . . ., 1 Nov 2006
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Canada Dry (Suffolk, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tristan And Isolde [DVD] (DVD)
. . beautifully told in this visually stunning screenplay. Why was it not better known at the box office? My only conclusion is that unlike most left-liberal sponsored post-modern films the Irish are portrayed as the villains of the piece and the English as the heroes! That must have jarred with US audiences & the Notting Hill set! Set in the dark ages the film follows the adventures of English warrior Tristan who finds himself at the mercy of Irish princess Isolde. In hiding the pair fall in love but are soon torn apart by their warring peoples and by a code of loyalty and honour that is now all but forgotten. Rufus Sewell is simply superb as the sad but compassionate war leader Marke. The scenes of physical love are tender and sensitively recreated. The battle scenes are stunning. A grey, windswept pall hangs over the whole film to remind us that this is the dark ages but it does not detract from the lovingly filmed beauty of a nature free from motorways, housing estates and power lines. I thoroughly enjoyed this sweeping, adventurous, romantic legend so reminiscent of Lancelot & Guinevere. Recommended.
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Tristan And Isolde [DVD]
Tristan And Isolde [DVD] by Dexter Fletcher (DVD - 2006)
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