Cold Mountain

"Weak"

Cold Mountain Review


Masterpiece Theater meets Mayberry in Anthony Minghella's Cold Mountain, a stodgy and superfluous adaptation of Charles Frazier's Civil War romance novel that's every bit as unconvincing as it's meant to be epic. Frigid and detached to the point of numbness, the passionless period piece is too staged, too dry, and too silly to matter, though Minghella earns bonus points for staying consistently dishonest and uneven from start to finish.

Minghella tells Mountain in two parts that fail to complement each other. In one, wounded Civil War soldier Inman (Jude Law) reaches his breaking point on Virginia's blood-soaked battlefields and decides he can't spend another day without his true love, Ada (Nicole Kidman). So he puts down his rifle and begins the long walk back to Cold Mountain, N.C. Meanwhile, back home, Ada struggles to maintain her father's house after the man passes away in a disgustingly symbolic rainstorm. She accepts help from the town tomboy (Renée Zellweger) and learns a thing or two about patience, hope, and independence in the face of danger.

Minghella's first mistake is major, and it's one that ultimately dooms his picture's course. For Mountain to rise above, we have to root for Inman and Ada's potential reunion. Law and Kidman, though, are allowed scant few scenes to form their feeble connection as Minghella rushes through their budding romance. He demands we buy into their union instead of convincing us why they'd unite.

What was he hurrying towards? After separating his lovers, Minghella fills the remainder of his picture with insufferable storytelling gimmicks that ring with false importance. He handles his transitions with the grace and subtlety of a runaway freight train, forcing everything down our throats with heavy-handed symbolism and inane backwoods wisdom such as, "Bird got a job, shit got a job, seed got a job."

The cast, as a whole, disappoints. Recognizable stars may populate this Mountain, but few get much to do. Each actor brings his or her own flawed interpretation of a classic Southern accent to the table. The cast of Hee Haw sounded more authentic. Kidman's monosyllabic line-readings turn Ada into a wax caricature of a porcelain Southern belle. Thankfully Zellweger's no-nonsense worker bee buzzes through Kidman's suffocating pretensions like a hot knife through butter.

Inman's faults belong to Minghella's screenplay, not Law's portrayal. Marching to each adventure like a love-starved Tom Sawyer, Inman stumbles on countless souls in need of salvation, from a constipated preacher (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to an underprivileged single mother (Natalie Portman). Sensing our need to cheer this man on, Mountain makes Inman the most pious, pure, and politically-correct soldier this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. The gaunt warrior becomes a Christ figure bringing either comfort, death, or a comfortable death to every life he touches. Then again, when the alternative is Hoffman discussing his bowel movements at length, I'll take Law any day.

The fact that Minghella directed the equally extended and emotionally despondent The English Patient should surprise no one. Artistically challenged and abnormally unfocused, Mountain reduces the importance of its central love story and in the process does more damage to the nation's perspective of the South than Deliverance and The Dukes of Hazzard combined. In retrospect, scaling a mountain might be easier than swallowing this pompous bag of feed.

The DVD comprises two discs, including deleted scenes, a feature on the language and music of the film, commentary with Minghella and editor Walter Murch, and the usual collection of making-of goodies. If you're into history of the area (or the movie itself) you won't want to miss this DVD.

Glass of mud, sir?



Cold Mountain

Facts and Figures

Run time: 154 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 25th December 2003

Box Office USA: $95.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $173M

Budget: $79M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films, Mirage Enterprises, Bona Fide Productions, Castel Film Romania, Cattleya

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 158 Rotten: 65

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Inman, as Ada Monroe, as Ruby Thewes, as Maddy, as Stobrod Thewes, as Reverend Veasey, as Sara, as Mrs. Morgan, as Junior, as Reverend Monroe, as Teague, as Sally Swanger, as Bosie, as Pangle, as Ferry Girl, as Oakley, as Shyla, Tom Aldredge as Blind Man, as Doctor, as Bardolph, as Georgia

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.