Hey folks, Harry here... this is the second look we've seen here at AICN on COLD MOUNTAIN, the epic Civil War flick that Miramax is looking at as being an Academy heavy hitter at the end of the year. The first review, found here, had very few problems... mainly concerning the "bad guys" which go unmentioned in the following reviews and apparently the over-the-top performance by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, which is commended here. Of course, that first review was over a month ago, so Anthony Minghella and the editing god Walter Murch have had plenty of time to fine tune this doozy of a flick. Looks like this award season, we'll be getting a looksee at a whole host of period flicks... COLD MOUNTAIN, ALAMO and THE MISSING just for a start... fun fun fun. Here ya go...
I just got back from a screening of the new Miramax movie "Cold Mountain," staring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Renee Zellweger. First I never read the book and I wasn't sure I wanted to see this movie because of the basic description I got from the flyer. I went in expecting to see some lovey dovey period drama that was going to leave me squirming in my seat for the full THREE HOURS. Man was I surprised how much I liked it.
Spoiler free area:
I was surprised by the amount and the depiction of violence in the movie. I was expecting Jude law to be playing the role of Imed as the Kevin Costner from dances with wolves (reluctant hero), but he is actually the Costner from Open Range (cold blooded killer). He is changed by his experiences in battle and he has become quite good at killing. Jude's performance was sedated but I believe it is needed to show the effects killing has on a man.
Nicole Kidmans character Ada took some time to grow on me. When we first see her I wasn't excepting her playing the role of southern belle. But after a half hour or so she grew on me and Kidman does a great job through out the rest of the movie.
The true star of this movie though is Renee Zellweger. Her comedic performance as Ruby throughout the movie made the three hours fly by. This movie doesn't get into high gear until she shows up and starts working (a scene with a roster that had me dying ). She not only lightens the load for the audience but gives Kidmans character laughs when she needs it most.
The movie was like a civil war version of the Odyssey. Its about a man trying to get home to the woman he loves and going through all types of trials and tribulations to get there. From nymphomaniac priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who kills in all his scenes, a mountain man (Giovanni Ribisi) with horny kin, women struck by the brutality of war (Natalie Portman ), and some other folks who give Imed help or delays along the way.
Spoiler area ahead:
I told ya so
Okay glad your here. The opening battle begins with the union army setting off explosives at the wall of a southern fort from an under ground tunnel they dug. Bodies fly, ruble everywhere, people buried alive. The explosion shook my me so hard my cell phone fell out my pocket (I love digital sound ).
Then the union army starts it charge towards the fort, they move fast like a tidal wave of navy blue. I don't know if this is how fast a civil war soldier really moved, but I prefer this then seeing some out of shape civil war buff running about like in "Gods and Generals." When they reach the wall they realized they've hit a dead end, the explosives didn't do the job. The mass of soldiers crush together unable to move (anyone whose been at the front of the stage at a concert when the masses swell at he start of the show knows the feeling ).
The confederate soldiers start to get over the effects of the blast and begin to open fire on the union soldiers below. Its turning into a blood bath the soldiers on both sides eventually end up face to face. The ground becomes a mixture of blood and mud, bullets, bayonets and knives are going in and out of bodies spraying blood everywhere. War is hell.
Now for a quicker recap of the good stuff.
Roster heads being pulled off. Check
Goats throat sliced. Check
Creepy albino bad guy. Check
Portman boob. Check, Check and Check
Kidman butt. Check
4 way with a priest. Check
Head shots. Check
Jack White from the "White Stripes." Check (He is actually good in the movie)
The only real problem I had with the movie was the score. It had its bright moments but it seemed to go back on the same theme over and over again. But they did say the movie is not done so they could fix that before release.
On the other hand the folk/blugrass songs performed in the movie were exceptional especially the ones with Jake White singing.
There are other great performances and nuances to be discussed but need to be flushed out of my mind by a repeat viewing. Bottom line this is a good movie that is worth your time.
If You decide to use this call me Mr. Bullseye.