Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Cold Mountain

I saw Cold Mountain last night. It's not a good movie.

Unlike many people I know, I liked The English Patient a lot. I thought at the time that Anthony Minghella was quite the talent. And, hey, I enjoyed both Truly, Madly, Deeply and The Talented Mr. Ripley quite a bit.

Unfortunately, I found myself seeing all the things my friends and other complained of The English Patient rising to the surface here. It certainly has great moments, and I've heard few dispute that The English Patient has those. It has some fantastic acting, Jude Law stands out in my mind, although the notion that a lot of the actors thought they were in a different movie than the others seems an appropriate criticism, more even than they weren't good, although a couple really weren't.

It starts with a heavily cliched civil war battle. "Is he even young enough to fight?" leaving a war movie youth the same chance of survival as a retiring cop in an action movie. Have the people wildly praising this movie even seen a movie before? That moment is just the beginning. Every moment of any drama was telegraphed far in advance.

This is all on top of heavies that would have been stood out for their one-dimensionality in whatever the newest Vin Diesel action extravaganza is. Poorly written and acted even worse. The albino doing a back-flip was one of the worst action movie cliche moments I've seen in the last couple of years.

The dialogue was wildly inconsistant, changing between solid period dialogue and wild overwritten flourishes that even the generally good actors could sell.

In the end, it piled up a lot of tragedy and suffering, some very good drama and some rather banal attempts at drama very inconsistently, and added up to, well, nothing. I found myself wondering what I was supposed to have gained from seeing this, and could think of nothing.

I've been heard to complain about Ang Lee's The Ice Storm on many occasions. I found it entirely unfulfilling and lacking any compelling value or character connection. Even that, however, is a basic improvement over this, in that I can understand what the filmmakers intended to tell me about life. It was a complete failure at telling something that might've been worth telling. Cold Mountain is a smaller failure, in that some elements succeed for short periods, but it ultimately only wants to blend together a romance, an action-adventure with a lot of tragedy and pretend that adds up to something deeper. It's a cheap lie of a film in the costume of a much better film.

It's too bad, the movie it was in the costume of might have been very good.

The Seed Has a Job, The Bird Has a Job, Bad Movies Have a Job by "tedg" is an interesting review on IMDb, which is rather a surprise in itself, although it does seem "tedg" got bored writing the review before actually finishing and just sort of stopped.

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