In order to get a newer perspective in a repeated viewing of the Civil War romance film, Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain – dubbed in French, for some reason – I decided to read the book. So if you read any of my poetic tweets that was author Charles Frazier and not me. The time span between my rewatch of the film and the time when I read the book’s last word was less than six weeks, so remind me never to do such a thing again.
This film adaptation sticks to the story’s general idea but there are inevitable scenes and themes in the film that aren’t in the novel, which doesn’t lessen the film, mind you. I noticed that twice in the film, Ruby Thewes (Renée Zellweger) and Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman) turn away men like Strobrod (Brendan Gleeson) and Inman and tell them to go back where they came from, those men coincidentally are ones closest to them.
If anyone out there does screenings of older movies and sets them to different soundtracks, someone should use this film while playing Fleet Foxes‘ first songs. It’s better than the Enya-like OST. It somehow goes well with the film’s enthralling cinematography that takes advantage of nature’s changing deep and bright colours, from green to brown to white, adding to the film’s region-specific lyricism.
Bringing up a band who became famous half a decade after a movie with, theoretically, the same qualities reinforces my strange feeling that Weinstein made this movie too early, that other actors could have played Ada and Ruby (arguably interchangeable), Inman and Sara (Natalie Portman) competently. This strange feeling also weaves into the biggest criticism against the film, that the Miramax’s star casting got talent from the four corners of the English-speaking world, only for the inconsistencies in some of those actors’ Southern accents to stick out like sore thumbs.
But this casting still works, as Kidman brings her signature cold-hot self-imposed repression perfectly describes Ada – both are age-appropriate as ‘spinsters’ and romantic leading ladies. Law is small and exhausted as Inman would be. I imagined for Ruby as someone with a deeper voice than Zellweger, but she portrays Ruby as childlike, working for the character’s stunted younger years. This movie is also my introduction to Gleeson and Ray Winstone, playing the villanous Teague, the two will play mirrored opposites of each other or even fighting brothers, if there isn’t already a movie just like that hiding between my gaps of movie knowledge.
‘That’s bullshit. That’s bullshit. You have to take responsibility. You are being paid to apologise for this pathetic country of Britain, and he can explain to us why we burned our diplomatic credentials and why, why we’re killing, you know, thousands of innocent people…just for-just for some barrels of oil…and a photo opportunity on the White House lawn. Why?’ And more journalists walk out.
Not to take away from Weisz’ Oscar winning performance, but if this was the audition piece, Kate Winslet would have gotten a closer chance in becoming Tessa. I also wanna find out how her campaign went, seeing that one of Weisz’ competitors is Michelle Williams for Brokeback Mountain, another Focus Features release. Yes I’m the last gay person to see the latter film so of course I can’t compare the two performances, but I wonder if Focus went full engine on Brokeback or if they focused on getting acting wins in their other movies while paying more attention to getting picture and directing wins for Ang Lee.
And no matter, Tessa and Justin will make up eventually.
I love you.
Every other movie reminds me of every other movie. Like how Fernando Meirelles‘ The Constant Gardener differentiates some of the Britain scenes and the African scenes by showing the former with a grayish blue tint and the latter with yellow, just like Traffic did. But this movie does it better, more crisp, despite the shaky cam. And it doesn’t do the colours too often.
Or how the paid assassins riding into the village like apocalyptic horsemen, like the raid scene in The Searchers, but this time the focus is on the victims and not the horsemen. Like the John Ford film, white characters are mixed in with the natives but this time it’s paid African militia men killing their own kind, hoping to get Justin with them.
- Rachel Weisz in Talks to Join THE BOURNE LEGACY (geektyrant.com)