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Overall Rating
3.28

Awesome35%
Worth A Look: 13%
Average: 16%
Pretty Bad: 17%
Total Crap: 19%

4 reviews, 76 user ratings


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English Patient, The
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by Slyder

"What’s Wrong With You People?"
5 stars

Yeah, I liked this film and I liked it a lot. No, fuck you. You’re either too blind or too dumb or looking too deep to appreciate the beauty of this film. I must say that this is a film that demands its viewers for time to understand. Probably one of the most complex love stories ever made, and one of the most beautiful too. At first it was hard for me to understand the complexities of the 4 leads, but then after seeing it again, it was such a rewarding experience since The English Patient deals with so many issues of humanity and its surroundings that its like one giant metaphor in which love and pain clash for the fulfillment of one’s conscience and one’s heart.

An English plane carrying two people, pilot included, flies through the lonely Sahara desert in Africa, not appearing to have a course, when all of a sudden, a German battery shoots it down, the pilot in his desperation to bail out of the plane, is burned by the flames of the stricken motor, but its too late. We realize that the time is 1944, closing to 1945, at the closing of World War II. Our pilot is rescued by a group of Arab nomads and then ends up in a Canadian regiment that is heading towards Italy. There, our pilot can’t remember anything, but the soldiers think he’s English, so they write him down as an “English Patient.” There we meet Canadian nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche), whom takes care of him. Hana thinks she’s cursed since all the people she has loved, have died. Seeing that the English patient’s death is close, Hana decides to stay with him on an abandoned villa. Soon after that, another Canadian arrives, a thumb-les thief called David Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), whom has an indirect connection with the patient above. Soon both Hana and Caravaggio start uncovering the mysterious past that hides within the burns and the scars of the patient.

It’s interesting how this film lays down its cards for its storytelling. Our patient at first is shown as a vulnerable being, a person whom as he declares, has lost someone in his life. Hana is attracted to him since she’s also lost someone. One can draw an easy conclusion from this point, but there are still many questions unanswered. Soon the film starts twisting you all over, trying to find the true character of the patient, and of course his identity, which is given immediately. We immediately find out that our patient is not English, but from Hungarian origin, and his name being Count Lazlo de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), a mapmaker whom is a member of the Royal Geographical Society, who was on an expedition with fellow mapmaker and best friend Peter Madox (Julian Wadham) in the Sahara desert, around 1939. Also, he’s joined by a couple which happen to be benefactors of the expedition, Geoffrey (Colin Firth) and Katharine Clifton (Kristin Scott-Thomas). This section soon starts giving out the necessary character development for all our characters, and also, it gives you a point of view of the Count from a softer more simplistic side. Enter Caravaggio, whom is full of anger of what they did to his thumbs, and his connection with the Count reveals a darker, and more mysterious side of the story, involving treason, revenge and political power plays. I was overwhelmed by this part since it especially deals with the political tensions of that time which led to World War II, and how good deeds can be seen as bad ones by other people, and in this case, the Germans taking advantage of geographical intelligence and using it against the British during the African campaign. These complexities are rare on filmmaking today, and remind us again how filmmaking can be intriguing and compelling when its ingredients are well used. What follows next and during all that is that the Count and Katharine fall in a forbidden yet passionate affair, which would soon change their lives forever, and Hana and Caravaggio are witnesses to it all. The message of this main plot is pretty simple, the search for spiritual peace after suffering the loss of a loved one, and the things that we do for our loved ones. But what’s more important is how does this reflect on our lives. I myself have lost a loved one, and pretty much can relate to this movie since I also had to seek consolation and find the willingness to move on, and that’s where the remembrances of the Count come to play since we tend to remember most the best moments.

Then there’s the subplot with Hana’s love relationship with a Sikh called Kip (Naveen Andrews) a bomb-disposal expert who arrives with another colleague to the villa to ensure protection there. Many people confuse themselves since they think that this part of the movie is pretty much out of place, and its just there to fill time. I seriously disagree. I believe this subplot is like an alternative or continuance of the main idea of the movie, since we see from a woman’s point of view on how she manages to overcome the loss of her loved one and find someone to help overcome her anguishes, also again reflecting our lives and our experiences. So what I believe is that both sides of the coin are explored in the movie, and I applaud it for its efforts.

I praise Anthony Minghella for writing the script, and directing this flick, since he manages to pull off such a complicated yet beautiful movie like this one. Splendidly photographed by John Seale, the film’s photography will bring us some similar memories of Lawrence of Arabia in several occasions. The film, though it gives out its message, doesn’t answer any questions, and many people will find that a problem, but in my opinion, the film leaves this territory unanswered so that we can fill in the few remaining blanks with our thoughts, our personal experiences, and what we learned from the movie experience. That in my opinion is the main thins that makes this film great.

The performances were fantastic. Ralph Fiennes eclipses his performance in Schindler’s List, and it’s easily the finest performance of his career. Juliette Binoche, gosh, I always had a thing for her ever since I saw her in The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, and she shines in this movie. Willem Dafoe still proves why he’s one of the most underrated actors out there (despite his Oscar-nominated role in Platoon) and why he’s always fun to watch. Boy, Kristin Scott Thomas is sizzling and also at times haunting, and at times left me with my mouth open. The rest of the supporting cast was also great, well up to standards.

In the end, forget whatever bullshit they’ve told you about this movie and just go watch it. The trick is not expecting much of it, much less expect a lot of the “usual action,” just let the film flow into your mind and your veins and you’ll see how rewarding it is. Repeated viewings are recommended, but the experience is still the same. See it. (4.5-5)

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=665&reviewer=235
originally posted: 07/18/02 11:29:35
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell very good 4 stars
3/01/14 PAUL SHORTT POWERFUL, WELL MADE ADAPTATION WITH SOME GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
2/17/13 softy mcgee excellent film despite firth, who's bland as toast 5 stars
1/13/12 Simon Great imagery, ok acting, & neat interlocking details,but its a telenovela at its weak core 3 stars
6/27/11 DR Interesting novel - average film. Not a classic, not terrible. 2 stars
11/26/10 Jeff Wilder Proof that Indie does not automatically = Good. 1 stars
9/23/10 Emily Sand I'd like to see anyone try and sit through this movie after all these years. Can't be done 2 stars
2/19/10 rita pantoja Overated - I 'm now conviced that C Firth is just plain bad luck to any movie he's in. 2 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Binoche is about as believeable as O.J. saying "I'm innocent."The acting in this=excrement. 1 stars
6/14/07 Jenni OMG - I almost went into a coma! 1 stars
3/27/07 fools♫gold Rather average and uninteresting; I don't know what to think of it: it made me sleep. 3 stars
12/18/06 Sepi53 Interesting, different wartime film 4 stars
6/28/06 Dani Wonderful, opulent film. 5 stars
2/14/06 Two Gun If I had not busied myself sharpening knives, would n ot have made it to the end 1 stars
12/25/05 Vega Must be the most boring and pointless movie that I've seen 1 stars
11/14/05 Michael Choose an illicit partner, get macabre results. A Godless movie. 2 stars
9/27/05 Mactheknife I resaw the English Patient last evening. It's powerful images and storyline transfixed m 5 stars
8/23/05 ES Literally & honestly the most boring movie ever made about war and wartime events 1 stars
7/26/05 Laura Lee Macleod big soppy epic should have been made 1940 3 stars
2/23/05 andrea313 I laughed, I cried. It was really moving. 4 stars
2/21/05 Nadie The critics said this was a good movie. I will never trust them again. 1 stars
2/06/05 Nobody This movie is AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL I would pay money NOT to see it 1 stars
1/03/05 UMER desrves all the accolades it received at the time it was released-wonderful movie indeed 5 stars
12/23/04 Tatiana Pretentious, overblown, and emotionally hollow. Not to mention dull. 1 stars
10/24/04 ODH Good looking film, but boring and offers nothing that hasnt been seen before. Waste of time 1 stars
9/26/04 Bucky Buckner Boone Binoche is the heart and soul and won an unexpected but deserved Oscar; rest is ok 5 stars
7/04/04 Jeff Semlow Great looking film, but overly sappy. 3 stars
6/22/04 T. Maj Self-conscious epic; pretentious and lifeless 2 stars
1/17/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. The script. The cinematography. The direction. The acting. Where's the HEART? 4 stars
10/29/03 ZF Great looking but skin deep and pretentious. Kip's dignity was robbed in the adaptation. 2 stars
8/14/03 Jeannie Karlsen Although I don't usually care for sappy love stories, Ralph Fiennes makes this work. 4 stars
7/02/03 your worse goddamn nightmare The script. The cinematography. The direction. The acting. Need I go on? 5 stars
5/17/03 Andrew Carden Thomas & Fiennes Are Amazing; Great Direction. One Flaw: An Awful Performance By Binoche. 4 stars
4/20/03 Jake Carlton fantastic film making 5 stars
3/28/03 Atanu I had 3 potentials scores with me while watching this, even then i had to tell it was crap 1 stars
3/25/03 Jack Sommersby Emotionally aloof and distressingly uninteresting. Dafoe comes off best. 2 stars
1/24/03 Pinkline Jones Recommend euthanasia for the entire Cast and Director 1 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock A faultless movie and superb transfre from a excellent novel 5 stars
7/19/02 Charles Tatum Slyder is so wrong; seriously boring 1 stars
3/07/02 Caravaggio, Willem Dafoe's character Two thumbs up! 4 stars
3/02/02 Jenny Tullwartz Overlong and muddled, but at least didn't have Demi Moore in it. 3 stars
2/21/02 luda hoe guy gets burned, guy reveals past, no one cares, i'm glad i didn't pay a lot to see it 3 stars
2/17/02 ACBCorp Superb cinematography, visually dazzling, average acting, overly long but worth it... 4 stars
12/17/01 bobbuttons its ok i guess, whatever 3 stars
12/02/01 travis r. sorensen watch this with a girl and you'll get laid-i guarantee it. 5 stars
11/27/01 sdfr lyrical, mysterious, poignant, heartbreaking, uplifting. It all worked very well somehow. 4 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm Someone abandon the teen critics i a cave with a bank book and no pen. 5 stars
8/31/01 Hooker with a Penis worth seeing it if not onle for the beautiful cinematography 5 stars
5/18/01 Bada Bing Crosby Worth it for Binoche ONLY..she is perfection, the rest is worthless 4 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Great performances, but I like a little more bounce for my buck. That's just me... 3 stars
2/11/01 Gary Tooze Perfect film 5 stars
2/05/01 Triumph, the Insult Comic This was the perfect movie...for me to poop on!I kid!This movie was beautiful and haunting 5 stars
12/04/00 Cristopher Revilla at first i din't get it, but later viewings i understood it, it was good, liked it!!! 5 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin Please listen to Chris Drake, Gray, and BirdBrain 1 stars
11/03/00 dan nice full frontal nudity! 4 stars
10/16/00 BirdBrain No matter how pretty it is, boring as hell. 1 stars
9/07/00 Gray Looks great, Binoche is good but very boring, very shallow and lost up it's own ass. 1 stars
7/12/00 Chris Drake "Pretty" adultery is still adultery--I like Fiennes but (so far) none of his movies 1 stars
5/18/00 Keith contrary to Seinfeld, there's no bathtub sex in it, so save your money. 1 stars
4/13/00 Heather Awesome, intelligent, well acted, well deserved the Oscars 5 stars
3/03/00 Belinda Tardini I believe this film is so successful because of the acting. 4 stars
3/01/00 Ionicera Needs to be accepted and enjoyed on its own merit and not for the surrounding +/- hype 5 stars
1/12/00 John Markham VERY,VERY BORING. 1 stars
11/29/99 Mic Beautifully cinematographed. 5 stars
10/30/99 Bozo awesome ONLY for Binoche who was great & for once an Oscar was deserved-rest of it was OK 5 stars
10/13/99 little jerry A simple love story trying way too hard for the profound.Titanic was more meaningful. 3 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Yawn...zzzz...etc.etc. 2 stars
1/24/99 Hannah I might have said it was decent if it wasn't *supposed* to be great. Made me want to vomit 3 stars
1/10/99 Dasha I don't care what you say, it WAS the movie of the year! 5 stars
1/07/99 Jo Mama This movie almost made me cry. Call me a pussy. 5 stars
11/13/98 Jules I must be fucked up or something. I didn't like it. In fact, I walked out before the end. 2 stars
10/13/98 tom wood ralph fiennes is all this movie needed 5 stars
9/27/98 katherine SUCKED SHIT!!!! i hate this film! it bored me 2 death. 2 stars
9/26/98 Maegs I loved it. I'm a girl. I couldn't help it. *weeep* 5 stars
9/06/98 Badass Wrong Whoopee! Length and desert make for great films, such as this and LAURANCE OF ARABIA. 5 stars
8/28/98 Mister Whoopee Bored me to fuck. Fiennes is a lifeless actor. Length and desert do not make a good film. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Nov-1996 (R)
  DVD: 29-Jun-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Feb-1997




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