on 29 April 2004
Cold Mountain is by all accounts a love story. I say STORY with strongemphasis; I have seen too many films which may have quite enough love butvery little by way of story. Cold Mountain is the name of the village thatthe film focuses upon with the basic plot of the film being the varioushappenings and goings on there during the American Civil War. A greatstrength of this film is its ability to set the scene and allow theaudience's mind to fully appreciate this beautifully constructed periodpiece. The characters are equally absorbing, and the audience findthemselves really caring for their welfare. Leading characters Inman (Law)and Ada (Kidman) are wonderfully acted, giving depth to the love storybetween the two. Secondary characters are not without their charm.Zellweger gives a wonderful performance in an unusual role, providingtouching comedy at regular intervals.
The soundtrack to the film adds greatly to its atmosphere, with bluegrassfeaturing prominently, and the songs showing a wonderfully resoluteoptimism to the sorrows of the civil war. As well as featuring in thesoundtrack, Jack White (of 'The White Stripes' fame) makes his actingdebut. Although his acting ability is not on par with Kidman or Law, hepossesses the ability to convey emotion through his music at an equal ifnot greater level.
As a whole this is one of the greatest films I have seen in a long time.It is beautifully acted, has an interesting and moving story and ismasterfully approached by director Minghella. A journey in film if everthere was one, this is definitely worth the trip to the cinema.
Ostensibly Charles Frazier's epic novel should have made a great film. It is, after all an event and character filled Odyssey through civil-war torn America and a love story to boot. Eminently adaptable, such elements should be meat and drink to a film-maker of Minghella's aptitude.
But, the Cold Mountain novel was so much more than the simple sum of its elemental parts. The complexity and eventually haunting aspect of the book comes from the characters of the two main figures, Inman and Ada. These two are at once introverted and of a time of innocence unkowable to most modern audiences. Their 'romance' was awkward in a way inconceivable to a generation raised on 'Friends' and its contemporary moral tone. When Inman goes to war he and Ada do not know if they are in love, their relationship is still half forged and shadowy. Throughout the rest of the story their memories of their brief time together are but a counter-balance to the awfulness of the present. It is only the sterile and hate-laden reality of the war that makes, even the most half-formed of loves seem potentially redemptive and a promise of better things.
Inman is a deserter. This is massaged in the film where he is given the excuse of Ida's letters calling him home. In the book he has no such overt 'excuse'. He deserts because he is sickened by killing and the knowledge that he has become an adept killer. His Odyssey is towards his own innocence of youth spent on the forested slopes of Cold Mountain. Along the way he struggles to shed his killer's mantle as the landscape he travels seems inhabited by those who would kill him or other innocents; he has little scope for mercy.
In the final scenes on Cold Mountain there is, of course, the redemptive element of a love that becomes fully forged, emotionally and physically between two people who have altered much. This changes Inman. His undoubted skills as a trained killer enable him to defeat the dark forces of the Home Guard and guarantee the home he has found anew. However, he finds within himself a new mercy towards his last adversary: leading inexorably to his own, sudden death.
At one level his death seems cruel and pointless: and is. But, it is arguable that his act of mercy, born of his new love for Ada and sense of home was the act of a man alive again - albeit briefly. His truer death had been his sickness of spirit and soul as a killing machine in a world gone mad. That his (living) genes continue in the child fathered during his brief laying beside Ada, and that Cold Mountain provides a place of security for his family becomes his final redemption and legacy. A fitting enough end to a brutal Odyssey.
I'm not sure I got much of the above from the film. Without these elements it's a love story that's not very sexy and an adventure film with a hero who looks fed-up. The battle set pieces are stunning, but they're not what the book was about. Some sub-plots work well; Zelwegger is good as a feral mountain girl who takes of the role of helping Ada survive. Law and Kidman look very pretty and Nicole's nails remain beautifully manicured throughout. But, both really fail to bring any depth to characters whose essentials are well beneath the surface. Minghella has given us a film that is lavish and beautifully photographed but is ultimately like a piece of classical music played with all the wrong emphases of tone.
Maybe, we should expect no more: compex books tend to make disappointing films. Thus, Captain Corelli's Mandolin becomes a travel brochure... And yet, it can be done. Wildly unfashionable though it now may be, Gone With the Wind was a great film that faithfully recreated the character, tone and essence of a huge (albeit melodramatic) best seller. That was about the Civil War too. Ah, they don't make 'em like they used to.
I really enjoyed this movie from the minute it first come out it has everything for me war, a love story, hope, and the beautiful wild American country side.
I bought this edition for the pure fact it is a steelbook collectors edition and I am happy with the design and I would recommend it.
This ambitious, epic, mostly successful film is based on not one but two of my favourite books: Charles Frazier`s great novel of the same name, which is in its turn loosely based on Homer`s Odyssey. It was the second film of the new century to be based on Homer`s classic tale of a soldier trying, against almost insurmountable obstacles, to get home to his woman, the other being the Coen Brothers` wonderful O Brother, Where Art Thou?
It`s a gorgeous film to look at, filmed mainly on location in the Carolinas and Virginia. The South has rarely appeared so ravishing. But pretty pictures do not a good film make, so it`s lucky the late Anthony Minghella`s film benefits from some superb performances - as well as one or two dubious ones.
In the central roles of Inman (Odysseus/Noman in the Odyssey) and Ada (Penelope) are Jude law, who has seldom been this powerful or seemed this committed, and Nicole Kidman, who is a little too old in the part, but pulls out all the necessary emotional stops, finally convincing in a tough role.
Renee Zellweger is funny and discreetly scene-stealing in her Oscar-winning role as Ruby, who moves in with Ada and gets the farm back on its feet.
Other roles - many of them brief cameos - are taken by Donald Sutherland, lovely as Ada`s priest father, Philip Seymour Hoffman as a somewhat different kind of priest, Kathy Baker excellent as the women`s loyal friend, Giovanni Ribisi typically slippery as a householder with a family of sluttish daughters, and Ray Winstone effective in a meaty part as self-styled lawman Teague, but with a roaming American accent (he really shouldn`t be asked to play Americans, he simply can`t keep up the accent, sounding like a Cockney Confederate throughout).
There are two brilliant, totally natural portrayals: Brendan Gleeson as Ruby`s rascally father, an itinerant musician; and possibly the film`s best performance, by Natalie Portman as a widow left with a baby and little else, with whom Inman spends a (presumably) chaste night. She burns up the screen - far better in ten minutes than her overwrought lead in The Black Swan.
Eileen Atkins has a small part as a crone living in a hut in the woods, who tends to Inman`s wounds. Like Winstone, she should never be entrusted with any role which requires an American accent. Why on earth didn`t they get Americans to play such roles? (The great Dame is no better in this rsepect in The Hours, nor are Winstone`s laughably Sarf London tones any more convincing in The Departed.)
Jack White is surprisingly good as one of Gleeson`s musician buddies, and possible suitor to the resolutely unromantic Ruby, and even gets to sing and pluck on a mandolin.
The battle scenes are superbly handled - giving an impression of the horror and sheer bloodiness of a war in which more American people died than in all the other wars in which the US has taken part put together (unlikely but true).
On the whole, this is a moving and honourable film, especially if you`ve already been touched by Frazier`s deservedly prize-winning novel. Its length is justified, though there are longeurs, as well as one or two moments which might have been better thought-through. For example, the usually mesmerising Seymour Hoffman seems a touch under-rehearsed, his performance lacking a little in focus.
The music and songs are well chosen, and the two-disc set comes with plenty of fascinating extras.
An almost great film.
on 23 December 2014
This film has a multitude of star names and is IMHO a very worthwhile film to watch. The storyline is simple enough and well enough explained on here, but the film is of course very historic too in American history.
The opening scenes are from the Civil War. It’s the last year of the war and we’re at the ‘Siege of Petersburg’ (Virginia) – a siege that lasted 9 months and cost 70,000 lives. A few months later the war was over.
The war scenes are just brilliant and very much the highlight of the film for me – and yes, they really did tunnel beneath the enemy and attempt to blow them up! Cold Mountain is in North Carolina, one of the eleven states that broke away from the Union and formed their own Confederacy. A lot of the scenes were also shot in Romania!
The film includes a love interest, several nasty characters and some odd balls as well. So, it’s always interesting and there’s plenty going on to keep you watching throughout the two and a half hours. Definitely one worth a viewing I’d say.
on 5 August 2004
There are times when reading the odd good review for a film has led me to take a chance on a film that other critics have dimissed as turgid and boring. This was the case Anthony Minghella's gorgeous epic, Cold Mountain. I bought this film recently and I'm so glad that I read Film Review and the positive review of Cold Mountain.
Ada (Nicole Kidman) waits for a man she met on the dawn of the civil war. As the war progresses her letters go unanswered and she feels that Inman- the man she is destined to be with is dead. Both Ada and Inman encounter a variety of weird and wonderful characters who help them to fight their ghosts/emotions in their quest for love.
This may sound as corny as a well known cereal but this old fashioned love story has a real edge and was in no way soppy or as manipulative as I had read elsewhere. Minghella may have been overlooked come Oscar night but his beautiful film will live on way beyond the handing over of some gongs. He has crafted an emotionally satisfying movie which contains disturbing imagery as well as capturing the beauty of the landscape. It's not all dark and depressing either. The film contains some very humourous moments that evolve via the heartache. The laughs are genuine and stop the film from becoming maudlin or melodramatic.
The performances are amazing. Nicole Kidman looks ravishing and manages to hold back on the emotional front, therefore moving the audience when her character finally sheds a tear. Rene Zellwegger gives a career best performance as the strong farm hand with a wonderfully dry wit and a heart of gold. Jude Law slightly disappoints as his performance lacks the depth required in a story of such magnitude. But overall, the performances compliment the assured direction.
After falling asleep during The English Patient, I really did not think that Cold Mountain would be for me. But days after seeing the film, I cannot get it out of my head. It is haunting, beautiful, poignant, funny and thrilling. In other words it has all the ingredients of a classic piece of cinema. I urge you to take a trip to Cold Mountain as you will never forget it.
A Story of tragedy of love and undying faith........set during the American civil-war.
'Ada Monroe' (Nicole Kidman) and her father move to the town of 'Cold Mountain' 400 miles from their hometown of
'Ada's' father a revererend (Donald Sutherland) had been told the clean air of Cold Mountain would be of benefit to his
It is in Cold Mountain that 'Ada' meets young 'Inman' (Jude Law) there is an obvious attraction between the two, however
war is on the horizon before they really get to know each-other he joins the young-men of Cold Mountain as they march off
to war to fight the Yankee's believing it to be a great adventure....reality will be something very different.
'Ada' has promised to wait for 'Inman's' return she writes letters receiving no reply, in truth she doesn't know whether he is
alive or dead but has a blind faith that he will one day return.
The men of Cold Mountain serve with honour in battle, their numbers falling day by day, 'Inman' becomes injured in battle
during recovery he thinks of nothing else but of 'Ada' .....when recovering from his injuries he's had enough of this bloody war,
Meanwhile back in Cold Mountain after the death of her father 'Ada's' life is in a downward spiral, the farm becomes run-down,
she's hungry and penniless, by good fortune a stranger turns up on her property 'Ruby Thewes' (Renee Zellweger) an out-going sole who's lookig for work, not looking to get paid only seeking shelter and to be looked upon as an equal in return she'll help 'Ada' tend the land, 'Ada' will learn much from 'Ruby'
'Inman' has set about the long treck home to Cold Mountain to reunite with sweetheart 'Ada' ....it will be a long and perilous
journey all the time aware that Confederate-Patrols are out there hunting down deserters like himself, along the way he will
meet many strangers, some willing to help some willing to betray his trust.
When his journey is done will 'Ada' have waited all this time for his return or will she have given in to the advances of others
such as the treacherous 'Teague' (Ray Winstone)
A very intense and sometimes moving movie experience with a brutal battle sequence, and indeed many further violent
incidents both at Cold Mountain itself and indeed on 'Inman's' journey.
The film harbours many fine performances from it's star-studded cast-list.
(Been meaning to re-visit this film for many moons) - Well worth a re-visit or indeed a first viewing.
on 21 September 2005
I missed this film at the cinema but since I work in a library I was able to rent it for free! I knew it was going to be good with the likes of Kidman and Zellweger but I was genuinely impressed with the film on almost every level. First of all it looks amazing with not only beautiful scenery but gruesomely realistic battle scenes. The director has dealt sensitively with some of the more horrific moments, such as the rape of Natalie Portman's character and the murder of Sally's husband and children, effectively conveying the absolute lawlessness and lack of humanity in the Civil War era. Certainly not a way to learn about the war in detail and the story isn't based on real events but you really get the feeling it could have happened. For me the star of the show was Renée Zellweger who created a fully-rounded character who was equally strong and vulnerable and offered humour in what is essentially a bleak but brilliant film.
on 7 April 2014
Like all blu-rays when compared to watching the DVD version or an old video one watching this film is a clearer, more detailed experience and in many cases it's like looking at the film for the first time as the film stock used to transfer to Blu-Ray is usually "worked on" first to get as good a copy as possible.
My taste in films may not be the same as yours so if you want to know about this film I suggest that you use the internet to find 2 or 3 reviews by experienced film reviewers and make your judgment whether or not to buy this film. If you want details of the quality of the blu-ray aswell as a review I suggest [...]
I have watched over 600 films in my life and have a collection of about 250 Blu-Ray's and I rate this one 8/10.
on 22 February 2005
when i first rented a copy of this film, i was not expecting it to be good. in fact it was one of those rentals that sits on the shelf until the day it has to go back, when you think that since you paid for it you might as well watch it. now im damn glad that i did
not knowing a lot about the american civil war, i found this film relatively educational, however the most breathtaking thing about it is the heartbreaking romance that is the central story.
the most poingnant thing about it, in my eyes, is the way that Ada (Kidman) and Inman (Law) never really know each other. its a classic love at first sight kind of tale, with Law's painfully shy Inman being infatuated with Ada from the first time he sees her, but finding it very hard to say or do anything. in fact all the couple have before seperating is a single kiss and Ada's promise that she will be waiting for Inman.
the performances of the 3 lead actors in this film are also breathtaking. although kidman's character is nothing special, i really enjoyed the way that she developed throughout the film and felt Kidman pulled this off excellently. Zellweger deserves all the praise she got for this film, saving it from being very dull and depressing and moving the plot along excellently.
however i feel that the real star of the film is Jude Law. the characer he creates is so different from his normal charismatic playboy that its hard to believe that Inman is played by the same actor as, say, Dickie Greenleaf. his southern american accent is very impressive and he really shows what it is to be shy through his akward manner. finally, his breathtaking beauty makes him a romantic hero that would make any woman jealous of Nicole Kidman.
another great, although less significant, performance is that of Natalie Portman, who is only in the film for a few scenes.i felt her character really made me empathise with all the women in who are left alone by war and made me think about the hopelessness of such a situation. the scene where she asks inman to lie with her is one of the best in the film, really bringing home an air of hopelessness and loss.
so, if you like weepy love films, (and this is a very weepy one, i dont think ive ever cried so much at a film..) then i would highly highly reccomend this. as well as the elements i have mentioned there is also breathtaking scenery and some highly authentic music. if you're worried that it sounds too depressing, this is greatly alieviated by Zellweger's Ruby, who brings some much needed comic relief to the film, even at some of the most poignant moments.