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2004 Mini Reviews

Cold Mountain (2003)

Cold Mountain
Directed by Anthony Minghella
Starring Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellwegger, Brendan Gleeson
Running Time: 155 minutes

Inman (Law), a North Carolina laborer falls deeply for a southern belle named Ada (Kidman) shortly before the Civil War. Once the war begins and North Carolina becomes involved, Inman leaves the comforts of Cold Mountain and fights for the confederates, all the while yearning for a time when he can return home to start a new life with Ada. A gunshot wound almost destroys his chances, so before being sent to battle again, he takes his chances as a deserter and heads back to the hills.

The movie starts with a rumble, at the Battle of Petersburg. The yankees set off a large explosion, creating a vast crater, and then they charge, only to get stuck in the crater they created. A blood bath ensues, in some of the more powerful war scenes ever to be seen, reminiscent of the bloody opening to Saving Private Ryan.

If only the rest of the film had followed suit. Cold Mountain has some problems along the way. It suffers from too many characters, too large of a script, too many big named actors, and not enough swift narrative.

First, I feel the film would have been much better without Miss Nicole Kidman. Her accent was horrible, her appearance was too fragile, and her dialog seemed forced. She stuck out as something that really didn't belong in the Civil War south. Jude Law and Renee Zellwegger saved the film. Law plays a quiet, war-weary Civil War soldier, who cares nothing but for the one he loves, and will stop at nothing in order to get to her, and finally to protect her.

Zellwegger, who plays a homegrown, ill-mannered, independent Southern woman practically steals the film and provides some much needed humor during some dour parts of the film. Most importantly, she does what a supporting character should do, and that is develop the lead. Kidman's character becomes stronger, simply because she is playing opposite Zellwegger.

Although the narrative seems to falter at times, the climax is exceptionally done. The winter scenes in the North Carolina mountains alone make this film worthwhile.

The film's ending is also strong, like the beginning, and Minghella does a great job of not drawing out the ending, nor trying to throw in any extra sentimentality. The film seems to end at just the right time, which is very uncommon these days when it comes to large epic films.

Score: 7/10