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Cold Mountain – A Brief Review

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:: I saw Cold Mountain this weekend, and thought it was brilliant. After reading a few reviews, I went to this movie with few expectations, almost waiting to be disappointed. Some critics felt the film was slow moving, and that Kidman and Jude Law lacked chemistry. The movie is an episodic story of a Civil War deserter, Inman (Law), who leaves the south near the end of the war to return to Cold Mountain, where the woman he loves, Ada (Kidman), waits for him, in hopes that he is still alive. The Civil War scenes are brutal and realistic (movie depictions of any war scene have changed since Saving Private Ryan moved the bar way, way up.)

The chemistry between the actors is real, and the episodic nature of the movie, which gives the movie its length, does not detract from the richness of the story, but adds to it by introducing a number of fascinating characters, keeping us interested in the story. In addition to solid performances from Law and Kidman, Renee Zellweger is excellent as Ruby, a drifter who comes into Kidman’s life, at the time she is slowly spiraling downwards, following the death of her father. The aforementioned fascinating supporting characters are portrayed by some of our best actors, including Donald Sutherland, Ray Winstone, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Giovanni Ribisi, Eileen Atkins, Brendan Gleeson, Kathy Baker, Natalie Portman, James Gammon, Jena Malone, Lucas Black, and Cillian Murphy, from 28 Days Later. Their collective work in this movie is rich and compelling.

This is a long film, 2 hours and 32 minutes, but I was never bored. What director Anthony Minghella has done is crafted a truly “adult” movie, and by that, I mean a film that asks of its audience to be patient, to let the story unfold slowly, to learn about the characters – in other words, a rare movie that treats its audience with respect. Cold Mountain worked for me.

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