Cold Mountain

2003

Drama / History

Synopsis


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October 26, 2011 at 2:17 am

Cast

Jude Law as Inman
Nicole Kidman as Ada Monroe
Renee Zellweger as Ruby Thewes
Eileen Atkins as Maddy
720p
802.59 MB
1280*544
English
R
English
23.976 fps
2hr 34 min
P/S 10 / 57

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by janyeap 5 / 10

It's the lasting effects of war on the idividuals...


Anthony Mingheller's astounding film cleverly sweeps the audience into the horrors of war at its beginning. He then introduces his two principle characters who would gradually move the audience into their world wrought by war and hardship. We watch as the characters begin to unravel their internal tortures and their need to subdue their isolation to face their regrets and hope for the future. This is an absolutely fabulous movie that portrays the stunning performances of its stellar cast of actors and the overwhelming raw landscapes that are kept in sync with their events and moods. Observe the stages of emotional changes in the characters. So amazingly and magnificently captured at different camera angles, from scene to scene against the cold, mountainous countryside!

This film isn't throwing off longwinded dialogue and lengthy physical encounters between Jude Law's Inman and Nicole Kidman's Ada to reveal the meeting of two souls searching for a meaningful existence. Yep, it's that brief and silent stare of Inman as he confronts the graciously low-keyed, prim and proper Ada that explicitly puts their sensory awareness of each other so powerfully on screen. As the events flow, I was completely mesmerized by the Inman character watching him transcend to his sense of isolation and his developing disillusion with his world. On the other hand, I couldn't take my eyes off the immaculately well-bred and gorgeous Ada as she succumbs into a scrawny hapless damsel in complete distress. It's fascinating to watch the couple adapt to situations beyond their control and to study the emotional and behavioral attitudes of two human beings altering at such opposing magnitude as a result of one war. Observe how the once popular Inman slips into desolation in the battlefield, becoming even more tormented from his world as he meets up with some very strange characters. Will he ever find solace with these characters, or with Ada at the end? Will Ada, while feeling alienated from her new abode, at the beginning of the film and with the death of her father, be able to battle her insecurity to become spiritually enlightened and physically capable with the help of her new acquaintances? Is she able to embraces what the farmland has to offer her? And will Inman be capable of escaping what the gruesome battlefield has come to mean to him? This film lays out an enormous ground for the examination of the effects a war on different individuals.

The film continues to remind the audience that Ada and Inman are bound together by their haunting memories of one another. That, indeed, is beautifully captured by the expressions on Law and Kidman's faces. The symbolisms, throughout the film, are plentiful and brilliantly ascribed, allowing the audience to join the dots to the destinies of the couple. Even crows, clearly suggesting doom and destruction, never fail to demonstrate the dark instincts that trouble a man's soul. And those women Inman meets in his journey seem to trigger the expectation of the audience to see him drawing closer to the woman he loves and to home. Even these characters, encountered by Inman, provide a picture of how different people react to the war. But will war ultimately bring peace and safety to its protagonists? This film is a masterpiece that will provide much food for thought.

Renee Zwellweger is phenomenal in her boisterously loud 'Ruby' role. She brings another aspect of the American woman that's so different in breeding from Kidman's Ada. Both are educated in their different cultural way of life. What can Ada learn from Ruby, the frontier woman who sees the 'hands and knees' toiling as the only way of survival in her community? Zwellweger provides the comic relief that's much needed for this powerfully intense film. She's superb in her role as the beacon of strength and hope for injecting a meaningful existence of living. Unlike the soldiers or the hypocritical Home Guard authorities that use guns to destroy their enemies, Ruby uses her hands-on skills to beat the odds of survival. It's uncannily delightful to watch her interacting with Kidman's character. She, Law and Kidman are definitely worthy of being recipients of the Oscar statuettes. They exhibit their superb non-stop performing talents in this film with their onscreen appearances. The Q&A session with Brendon Gleeson (who plays Ruby's father), has prompted me to want to go see this movie again - to watch closely how the strength of the film's womenfolk can make a difference to the human beings' survival instincts. I want to study again how hellish wars are for destroying and crippling, not only the physical, but the mental aspects of the masculine race. And Gleeson does drive home an interesting question: When these mountain folks `volunteer' to fight a war, how come they should be penalized as deserters if they were to decide to opt out of it?

This film is a MUST-SEE. It's beautifully crafted, assembled, and absolutely mesmerizing in all aspects of filmmaking techniques and style. The music score and soundtracks are so appropriate locked into the events and the moods of the characters. And the film's title? It does project its allegorical appeal.

A+

Reviewed by Owen Schaefer 8 / 10

A chilling vision of a tragic era

'War movie' is a Hollywood genre that has been done and redone so many times that cliched dialogue, rehashed plot and over-the-top action sequences seem unavoidable for any conflict dealing with large-scale combat. Once in a while, however, a war movie comes along that goes against the grain and brings a truly original and compelling story to life on the silver screen. The Civil War-era "Cold Mountain," starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger is such a film.

Then again, calling Cold Mountain" a war movie is not entirely accurate. True enough, the film opens with a (quite literally) quick-and-dirty battle sequence that puts "Glory" director Edward Zwick shame. However, "Cold Mountain" is not so much about the Civil War itself as it is about the period and the people of the times. The story centers around disgruntled Confederate soldier Inman, played by Jude Law, who becomes disgusted with the gruesome war and homesick for the beautiful hamlet of Cold Mountain, North Carolina and the equally beautiful southern belle he left behind, Ada Monroe, played by Nicole Kidman. At first glance, this setup appears formulaic as the romantic interest back home gives the audience enough sympathy to root for the reluctant soldier's tribulations on the battlefield. Indeed, the earlier segments of the film are relatively unimpressive and even somewhat contrived.

"Cold Mountain" soon takes a drastic turn, though, as the intrepid hero Inman turns out to be a deserter (incidentally saving the audience from the potentially confusing scenario of wanting to root for the Confederates) and begins a long odyssey homeward. Meanwhile, back at the farm, Ada's cultured ways prove of little use in the fields; soon she is transformed into something of a wilderbeast. Coming to Ada's rescue is the course, tough-as-nails Ruby Thewes, played by Renee Zellweger, who helps Ada put the farm back together and, perhaps more importantly, cope with the loneliness and isolation the war seems to have brought upon Ada.

Within these two settings, a vivid, compelling and, at times, very disturbing portrait of the war-torn South unfolds. The characters with whom Inman and Ada interact are surprisingly complex, enhanced by wonderful performances of Brendan Gleeson as Ruby's deadbeat father, Ray Winstone as an unrepentant southern "lawman," and Natalie Portman as a deeply troubled and isolated young mother. All have been greatly affected and changed by "the war of Northern aggression," mostly for the worse. The dark, pervading anti-war message, accented by an effective, haunting score and chillingly beautiful shots of Virginia and North Carolina, is communicated to the audience not so much by gruesome battle scenes as by the scarred land and traumatized people for which the war was fought. Though the weapons and tactics of war itself have changed much in the past century, it's hellish effect on the land is timelessly relevant.

Director Anthony Minghella manages to maintain this gloomy mood for most of the film, but the atmosphere is unfortunately denigrated by a rather tepid climax that does little justice to the wonderfully formed characters. The love story between Inman and Ada is awkwardly tacked onto the beginning and end of the film, though the inherently distant, abstracted and even absurd nature of their relationship in a way fits the dismal nature of the rest of the plot.

Make no mistake, "Cold Mountain" has neither the traits of a feel-good romance nor an inspiring war drama. It is a unique vision of an era that is sure not only to entertain but also to truly absorb the audience into the lives of a people torn apart by a war and entirely desperate to be rid of its terrible repercussions altogether.

Reviewed by Poseidon-3 5 / 10

Worth watching even if "brought to you by Mattel."

There are a couple of things wrong with this episodic, rather sweeping film, but not enough to destroy it. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad enough to make it worthwhile viewing. Law plays a shy, but thoughtful young man in Cold Mountain, NC. When the local minister's daughter (Kidman) moves to town, he is immediately taken with her and they share a few very brief, very stifled moments (including an impromptu kiss) before he leaves to fight in the Civil War. (An opening battle scene is so intense that the impact of it literally tears the clothes off one participant!) As they each experience great change, disappointment and destruction, it is their longing for each other that keeps them going. He can't wait to get back to her and she can't wait for him to come back. As Law treks across the southeastern coast, he comes upon a wide variety of opponents and allies. These are all played with great skill by a terrific gallery of solid, semi-name actors (Hoffman, Ribisi, Portman, Atkins, etc......) Meanwhile, Kidman faces the end of her gentle existence and almost existence itself until a scrappy, brassy local girl steps in to rescue her. Zellweger plays this feisty, mouthy girl, using every ounce of her acting prowess. The pair must fend off an opportunistic home guardsman played by a slimy Winstone. The film lurches forward with the all-important reunion moment dangling in front of the viewers like a carrot on a stick. It is solely due to the acting talent and intense chemistry of the stars and not the sketchy, spotty script that this moment carries any dramatic weight at all. Somehow, Law and Kidman manage the impossible, which is to create a romance and desire for one another that is never properly developed on the screen. They are forced to create everything through their expressions and body language and do just that. As good as they are, they are almost completely overtaken by the surprisingly wondrous and intriguing work of Zellweger. Her welcome dash of vinegar and bluntness is a perfect counterpoint for the dewy and sensitive lovers. Also, of particular note is another surprise - the downright striking job that Portman does as a lonely widow and mother. She outdoes herself in this brief role. As a matter of fact, nearly every performance in the film is excellent. The one exception is the horribly anachronistic and inexplicable presence of the peroxide blonde henchman to Winstone. His punk-rock, eyelinered look and shopping-mall line delivery remove the viewer from the already tenuous time period whenever he's on screen. (And is it ever stated why someone his age isn't IN the war??) That's one other problem. There is very little period feel to this film. It always seems like the actors are playing with clothes they found at Western Costume with their make up done by Ben Nye. Kidman's hair, while lovely, is absolutely ridiculous. It distracts from and detracts from scenes very often. Ditto her make up. One key scene near the end is a close up and her heavy mascara and shadow grey/purple eyeshadow (masterfully applied by those Hollywood wizards) turn what should have been an agonizing emotional moment into "Barbie Does the Civil War". Zellweger does better in the make-up department, though her chemically-whitened teeth do not go very far in suggesting her character's background. Her deliberately tousled hair is also a problem at times, but nowhere near the level of Kidman's. These are quibbles in light of the bigger problem which is an overriding predictability. Even to one who has never read the book, there is no doubt as to the ending of the film. There is very little room for surprise and what there is of that is telegraphed again and again. So the audience is left watching a 2-1/2 hour film with a foregone conclusion. (And this sometimes meandering work was originally FIVE hours long!) The amount of footage left on the cutting room floor makes for some uncomfortable continuity (such as when a character is tortured and watches 3 family members slaughtered and is next seen smilingly dancing a Christmas jig!) Nevertheless, the romance and beauty of the film still delivers and there is no doubt that Kidman is a MOVIE STAR. She glows and glistens and has every accommodation made to her. Even her old riding coat looks runway perfect. Law is achingly beautiful in the early scenes, but delivers a sincere, dedicated performance in spite of his physical features (which are all but buried as it wears on.)

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