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Cold Mountain

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Cold Mountain

Starring: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman
Director: Anthony Minghella
Rated: R
RunTime: 155 Minutes
Release Date: December 2003
Genres: Romance, Drama, War

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Evoking memories of "The English Patient," filmmaker Anthony Minghella once again explores love amidst the perils of war, this time adapting Charles Frazier's 1997 best-seller.

Set in 1864 in the South, a wounded Confederate soldier named Inman (Jude Law) decides he's had his fill of the Civil War. Memories of his brief encounters with beautiful Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman), the pampered preacher's (Donald Sutherland) daughter, propel him to desert his beleaguered unit and embark on a perilous trek back to Cold Mountain, North Carolina. Like Homer's "Odyssey," Inman encounters eccentric, colorful characters and finds himself in bizarre situations en route. Meanwhile, on the home front, the cultured-but-now-impoverished Ada is struggling, incapable of living off the land until Ruby (Renee Zellweger), a tough, outspoken working girl, comes to her aid. Together, they manage to survive, as treacherous Teague (Ray Winstone) and his zealous enforcers are hunting down Rebel deserters and those who aid them.

Despite its pretentious, episodic structure and emotional restraint, "Cold Mountain" retains its tension through multi-layered character development. Jude Law and Nicole Kidman are doggedly stalwart, but they're often eclipsed by surprising supporting turns from scene-stealing Renee Zellweger, Kathy Baker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brendan Gleeson, Natalie Portman and Eileen Atkins. Production designer Dante Ferretti, editor Walter Murch and cinematographer John Seale are top-notch with special credit to Gabriel Yared who utilizes traditional mountain tunes in the melodic score. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Cold Mountain" is a chilly, cerebral 9, celebrating the triumph of hope during the grim brutality of war.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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