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Eyes Wide Shut
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Runtime: 152 minutes
Theatrical Release: 12/25/2003
US DVD Release: 06/29/2004
dawn of the Civil War, the men of Cold Mountain, North Carolina, rush
to join the Confederate army. Ada (Kidman) has vowed to wait for Inman
(Law), but as the war drags on and letters go unanswered, she must
find the will to survive. At war's end, hearts will be dashed, dreams
fulfilled, and the strength of the human spirit tested ... but not
Inman (Law) has had his fill of civil war. Wounded, he deserts the
military hospital and sets off on foot for home - and Ada (Kidman).
It's an arduous odyssey across the Carolinas. Only Ada's cherished
love letters keep him going. The country is sick, starving and tyrannised
by Confederate Home Guards. Back at Cold Mountain, gentle Ada is orphaned
and alone, until ruddy Ruby (Zellweger) arrives to put the farm to
rights. If Miramax had another English Patient in their sights (or
another Gone With the Wind), Cold Mountain emerges as a bloodier,
muddier wartime romance. Minghella's adaptation of Charles Frazier's
bestseller, beautifully crafted in all departments, establishes its
chaotic and hazardous time with complete conviction, and the opening
battle scene is masterly stuff. Layering flashbacks of the lovers'
decorous courtship three years previously with Inman's painful progress
and Ada's straitened circumstances, the storytelling is never less
than compelling, even over a generous two and a half hours. It's episodic,
of course, but many of these Homeric interventions have a searing
intensity and probing moral engagement unusual in blockbuster entertainment.
There's vivid work from a stellar cast, notably Portman as a war bride,
Hoffman as an unconventional priest, Gannon and Gleeson. But Kidman
is a shade mature for Scarlett - sorry, Ada - and erratic accents
infect Winstone and Atkins in roles innumerable Americans could have
played. Not a problem for Law, as Inman suffers nobly in long periods
of silence. If the love story is asked to carry more weight than it
can bare, at least this is a film of rich measure and ambition.
by Time Out
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