Sunday, July 29, 2018

Cold Mountain

Movie Name: Cold Mountain
Year of Release: 2003
Director: Anthony Minghella
Stars: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Natalie Portman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brendan Gleeson, Donald Sutherland, Giovanni Ribisi, Ray Winstone, Kathy Baker, Eileen Atkins, James Gammon, Charlie Hunnam, Ethan Suplee, Lucas Black, James Rebhorn, Taryn Manning, Emily Deschanel, Melora Walters, Tom Aldredge, Cillian Murphy
Genre: Drama, Adventure
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Director Anthony Minghella continued his streak of adapting prestigious literary material, following his adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and Michael Ondaatje's "The English Patient". This time around the writer and director, adapted the book by Charles Frazier, one that follows the story of W.P. Inman, a carpenter living in North Carolina at the end of the 19th century. The young man falls in love with Ada, the daughter of the local preacher. As their relationship is starting to bloom, he goes to war. During those years away, Ada writes consistently, asking for him to return, all the while trying to stay afloat after the passing of her father. She eventually gets the help of Ruby Thewes, who moves in with her to help the management of the farm. Following a particularly brutal battle, Inman decides to return to Cold Mountain, but his path coming back is met with a series of obstacles and characters going through challenging times themselves.
Much like "The English Patient" had been a consummate story of a forbidden love that was denied existence, "Cold Mountain" veers in that same direction. It's however a film that keeps the lead characters apart for most of its duration, since on one hand, the film trails Inman's journey back to Cold Mountain, and on the other, it trails Ada's resourcefulness at the farm. The film manages to add further definition to the lead characters by showcasing the tribulations and challenges the lovers encounter, while simultaneously allowing for the supporting characters to bring a vivacity and a vibrancy that the film lacks in certain sections. Renee Zellweger is particularly well cast as the spunky Ruby, someone who is borderline anecdotal, but who is grounded by Zellweger's warmth and versatility. The entire cast of the film is stellar, as is the fantastic production design of the film from Dante Ferretti, cinematography from John Seale and the score from Gabriel Yared (the team that had been working with Minghella since "The English Patient"). It's an ambitious and somewhat stilted film, but nonetheless impeccably well built and acted. Worth watching.