Cold Mountain


Drama / History


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Downloaded 57,648 times
October 26, 2011 at 2:17 am


Jude Law as Inman
Nicole Kidman as Ada Monroe
Renee Zellweger as Ruby Thewes
Eileen Atkins as Maddy
802.59 MB
23.976 fps
2hr 34 min
P/S 7 / 55

Movie Reviews

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.)

Reviewed by songbird2882 10 / 10

an epic

This movie moved me more than I was expecting, and I was fully prepared to cry. The acting mainly carried this film, with superb performances from Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger, as well as the supporting cast. These actors portrayed characters so intensely human that they lingered the remainder of the night with me, and I had trouble shaking this war drama. The costumes and cinematography were also magical, but didn't get carried away with themselves. They didn't take focus, but added to the whole effect. Cold Mountain could never become my favorite movie, as that title will always belong to The English Patient, but it's in the top five. The story itself was well developed, and stayed fairly unpredictable. I did not find myself guessing what line came next. A heart-wrenching story about humanity and war. In fact, this movie was so strongly real that it was barely noticeable it took place in the 19th century. It seemed to apply to all times.

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.

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