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Legends of the Fall

movie reviewvideo review out of 4

All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Legends of the Fall

Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Edward Zwick
Rated: R
RunTime: 134 Minutes
Release Date: January 1995
Genres: Drama, Romance


*Also starring: Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Henry Thomas, Karina Lombard, Gordon Tootoosis, Tantoo Cardinal, Paul Desmond



Review by Dragan Antulov
2 stars out of 4

In Southeast Europe traditional folk songs with erotic content often use the motive of old man and his three sons, usually comparing the sexual prowess of those characters. The author of this review has been reminded of this cultural tradition while watching LEGENDS OF THE FALL, 1994 epic melodrama directed by Edward Zwick. Reason for that could be found in the plot that accidentally followed the above mentioned formula. In the beginning of 20th Century retired U.S. Army colonel William Ludlow, disgusted with the way his country had dealt with Plane Indians, lives at a remote Montana ranch with three sons - oldest and most practical Alfred (played by Aidan Quinn), middle and the wildest Tristan (played by Brad Pitt) and the youngest and idealistic Samuel (played by Henry Thomas). After being at college, Samuel brings his beautiful fiancee Susannah (played by Julia Ormond) to the ranch, and she soon falls for the wild and more manly Tristan. However, these romantic complications are nothing in comparison with the great historic events that would affect Ludlows' lives. The Great War has started in Europe and Samuel, not discouraged with the fact that USA is still neutral and against his father's better judgment, decides to take part in it. He goes over the border into Canada and volunteers in British army, while two other brothers follow him, hoping that they could watch over him. But the muddy trenches of France are just one of many tragic ordeals that awaits them in the future.

For some, LEGENDS OF THE FALL with the plot that confronts noble and savage nature with corrupted civilisation might seem like another of Hollywood's attempts to exploit "politically correct" trends of early 1990s, best embodied in DANCES WITH WOLVES. For others, LEGENDS OF THE FALL is simply Hollywood's attempt to recreate the good old epic melodrama - genre that almost vanished from in modern times. In any case, Edward Zwick, director best known for his work on television and 1989 Civil War epic GLORY, was perhaps not so suitable to reconcile those two ambitions. The film looks beautiful - cinematographer John Toll captured Canadian exteriors very well, Julia Ormond is attractive and quite convincing as femme fatale, while Brad Pitt would certainly create droolfest among female segments of the audience. The acting is also good, although Anthony Hopkins seems to be tragically underused due to some melodramatic plot points. However, good looks of the film still can't compensate the inadequacies of the plot, responsible for LEGENDS OF THE FALL drowning in melodramatic cliches, while Zwick has problems with the pace, resulting in film being overlong and being burdened by un-catharthic ending. However, the attractions here definitely outweigh the flaws, and LEGENDS OF THE FALL can be recommended to all the viewers hungry for movies that Hollywood knew to make some thirty or forty years ago.

Copyright 2002 Dragan Antulov

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