Wednesday, March 5, 2014

262 of 1001 Movies: The English Patient (1996)

With competition like Fargo the year it won Best Picture, there was a lot of upset over The English Patient winning. It has caused a huge divide in how people perceive it as well. While some love it others actually hate it. If you're a fan of tragedies and romance then this is one of the most epic ones of the past almost twenty years. A very long story, and lots of sexy scenes make this one that lives up to the hype. The movie is led by great acting from the main cast though who seems to embrace the chemistry and story of their characters, and in a way that is the best thing about the movie.

Summary: Almasy is a mapmaker who has been hired by the Royal Geographical Society to chart. After a plane crash he is left trying to piece together his memories. Hana, a nurse, is caring for him. Through a series of flashbacks the love affair and life of Almasy is revealed. But the repercussions of Almasy's past are happening within the place he is being cared for as a string of people arrive including Caravaggio, who seems to be secretive about who he is, and Kip.

Acting: Ralph Fiennes stars as Almasy, and I think Fiennes was perfect for the role. He gives Almasy all the mystery he needs to make the character interesting. Is he good or bad will be a question you're asking long after the movie is over. He makes him allusive and conflicted as much as you need the character to be. Kristen Scott Thomas stars as his love interest, Katherine. I think the aspect of a love affair is interesting to bring to the screen because while the movie might try to make it look romantic the viewer finds it is anything but that. There is a consequence for something that could be so hurtful to others. Juliette Binoche is the nurse that tends to Almasy, Hana. I thought she was intriguing, and her relationship with Kip, portrayed by Naveen Andrews, was interesting, but honestly I didn't feel as interested as I was in the flashbacks, unless of course it was William Dafoe's character, David Caravaggio. Now he might be the most interesting aspect of the whole movie as you debate what he might do. To round out the cast you'll recognize there is Colin Firth as Gregory. I think Firth is suiting for the role.

Filming: The movie show cases the landscape in a very sweeping and beautiful way that increases the romantic vibe of the whole movie. I also like how the music adds to the emotion and intensity of the moment. to the romantic scenes between the leads. Sometimes though I felt stalled out on scenes, and while one moment I was very interested others would run slower.

Plot: The plot takes a while to take form, and honestly until the last thirty minutes you might ot feel the movie takes over with it's true intent till then. At first it appears to be a movie about a man who is reliving the romance he had that was doomed from the beginning in his head, and then it switches to what has led certain characters to be so fascinated with him. The movie brings up some tough questions, and lets you ponder them long after the movie is over.

The English Patient was a lot slower than I had been thinking it would be, and I was expecting to be swept away by the romance. Instead I was just focused on the dilemma that seemed to be haunting many characters from the actions of one man. It is labeled as romance though, and does feature some very sexy scenes, but at the end of the movie this feels more like a movie to make you think than want to be romantic with your company.

Rating 8.5 of 10.

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