Eighty minutes. That's how long it takes before CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN
ever comes alive. Still, that is ten minutes sooner than PEARL HARBOR.
Both pictures suffer from making their audiences wait and then giving them
very little reward for their patience. Based on Louis de Bernières's novel
-- which I am told is quite good, the movie is directed by SHAKESPEARE IN
LOVE's John Madden. With Madden's languid pacing and Shawn Slovo's sappy
script, the movie begs for a one word review: Yuck.
Nicolas Cage, as Captain Antonio Corelli, and Penélope Cruz (ALL THE PRETTY
HORSES), as Pelagia, deliver two of the least interesting performances of
their careers. Corelli is a happy-go-lucky Italian soldier, part of a force
that is occupying a Greek island during World War II. Most of the movie
exists in a fairy tale world in which the occupying forces sing and dance
while the Greeks treat them rudely. Corelli, although he is a captain, has
never in his entire life even aimed a gun at anyone. He is the founder of
his regiment's opera club so he leads his troops in songfests.
Pelagia, the island beauty, is betrothed to Mandras (Christian Bale,
AMERICAN PSYCHO), who leaves to fight with the Greek partisans. Madras
likes to beat his chest while saying corny things like, "I don't know how to
tell you what's inside here."
Pelagia, of course, will eventually fall in love with the Captain Corelli.
When she complains that in a war there is nothing to sing about, he
explains, "I've always found something in life worth singing about, and for
that I do not apologize." Keep your eyes open because, if you blink, you'll
miss their love scene.
"The war we thought would never end is over," Pelagia's relieved father
(John Hurt) tells us in voice-over near the end. I felt the same way about
CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN runs a long 2:09. It is rated R for "some
violence, sexuality and language" and would be acceptable for teenagers.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave the film **. Although he was able to identify
a few scenes that he liked, over all he felt that the movie was at best
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes