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Overall Rating
3.35

Awesome: 18.37%
Worth A Look39.29%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 14.8%
Total Crap: 13.27%

13 reviews, 118 user ratings


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Cold Mountain
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by Erik Childress

"The Only Button On Minghella's DVD Player Should Be STOP!"
2 stars

When it was possible to shut out Nicole Kidman’s narration of her feelings towards the lost Confederate soldier she barely knew, I heard the voice of Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes. You’ll recall in one episode how she was dragged kicking and screaming (twice) to the epic love poem, The English Patient, that audiences and Oscar embraced cause they believed they should. “Just tell your STUPID story about the STUPID desert and die already. Die. DIE,” she screamed! Director Anthony Minghella is at it again with a long, boorish, passionless epic romance that manages to be more ass-numbing than his Oscar winner.

Minghella, who in his long-winded tales of love has the storytelling prowess of a narcoleptic Ulysses teacher, should make the small effort of staying away from the flashbacks. For over a half-hour, we’re inundated with them so we can grasp the star-crossed nature of two people who barely know each other in a place surprisingly not named for the chilly emotional state of its inhabitants. So frequent are the jumps in time that after 20 minutes the film has to remind us where we are and what year we’re in.

Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman) has moved to Cold Mountain, North Carolina with her reverend father (Donald Sutherland). Immediately privy to the stares of soon-to-be Confederate soldier, J.P. Inman (Jude Law), she makes the first gesture with her predisposed female duty of serving. They share a second conversation, then a third where Inman gets up the nerve to plant one on her. She gives him a picture and he’s off to fight.

A bloody massacre disillusions Inman to war (as would it anyone) and when he suffers a near-fatal wound, he decides he’s had enough and goes AWOL so he can get back to Ada. Love of his life or not, if your choice is fighting for the South in the civil war or trekking on foot to get some from Nicole Kidman, the million-dollar wound takes on a whole new light.

So as Inman does his Odysseus thing to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at Ada’s door, Ada evolves into Scarlett O’Hara after her father dies with the help of local girl, Ruby (Renee Zellweger). This brash, pouty gal is going to show the prim-and-proper book reader how to tend to her farm, establishing dominance early by snapping the head off a rooster. A non-too-subtle feminist metaphor if there ever was one. I’m not even going to get into the blind man with the hot nuts.

With a device utilized from Easy Rider to Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Inman will meet lots of colorful characters along the way, each with something to say and possibly for him to learn from. There’s a joyfully unashamed Commandment-breaking preacher (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a man with a homestyle brothel full of siren-ish sisters (Giovanni Ribisi) and a single mom with a sick newborn (Natalie Portman). Each of them pose the potential for interesting characters, but they are only parts of a chapter play to serve a couple scenes before Inman rides his lawnmower on to his next pee-wee adventure.

Meanwhile the crack Cold Mountain squad of deserter-busters is wrecking murderous havoc on the townspeople with all the subtlety of Monty Python’s “how not to be seen” sketch. (And here is the neighbor who told us where they were. BANG!) The leader (Ray Winstone) had a wanton stake in Ada’s farm and wanton even more to put his own stake into Ada, encapsulated in 5-second Butthead moments of “uh, hey baby.” Their villainous ways become increasingly more comical as they just seem prepared to knock-off anyone sitting around a campfire. Thank God they have the acrobatic albino (Charlie Hunnam) since you need one of those in every posse.

Kidman’s Ada, whose transformation into steadfast independence makes her a candidate for the cover of Modern Frontierswoman (just look at that black ensemble and hat to die for), admits she finds it hard to smile (as Inman’s picture would indicate.) Such will be the case for audiences looking to embrace the central relationship of her and Inman, who as played by Law is an even more stone-faced apparatus. The lack of time spent between them before separation does nothing to suggest pure love as it were and the zero chemistry between the actors dampens the passion level to the top of Old Smokey where, at the very least, they should be melting the snow if not causing a volcano.

Of all the film’s central performances, only Zellweger shines any ray of life with her unfaltering no-nonsense work-as-life ethic. She seems in line for her third straight nomination (and may just win the supporting category), although she should look for alternative methods to looking pouty then just crunching her nose each time. Of the other supporting turns, Hoffman provides some necessary relief as the loutish man of God and Portman reminds her Amidala-detractors of what a fine actress she truly is.

The English Patient suffered mostly with me thanks to a main character who was such a cold, bitter jackass that it was impossible to sympathize with his adulterous behavior in the name of love. At least the relationship between Juliette Binoche’s nurse and the Sikh officer had traces of the romance we expect from old-school epics where cynicism was displaced by notions of fairy-tale happiness even in the grimmest of circumstances. Cold Mountain lives up to its name with a blanket of unintended silliness and vacuous, undeveloped leads which is almost unfathomable and certainly unforgivable with 155 minutes to overcome. I could go on for days like Inman, but I don’t think anyone could say it better than Elaine Benes.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8421&reviewer=198
originally posted: 12/25/03 17:02:01
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User Comments

4/20/13 R. Sibley It glorifies the civil war less than Gettysburg or Gods and Generals. Cheesy plot though. 3 stars
11/26/10 Jeff Wilder A better than average Civil War picture. Way better than the overrated English Patient. 4 stars
1/08/09 Rachel a good tomance! 4 stars
11/27/08 little Red pretty good, defidently not an up beat movie 3 stars
11/12/08 YahooBot Nice site, thanks for information! 5 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner Interesting storyline. 4 stars
6/08/08 PAUL SHORTT A LOVE STORY THAT LEAVES YOU COLD 1 stars
7/03/07 Ionicera lacked many of the book's subtleties, but what movie doesn't? 4 stars
5/11/07 mb Good rythm, friendly to watch, but kind of empty and pointless. Without heart. Overkill. 4 stars
8/19/06 Verrine Nice take on Odysseus & Penelope. Loved Renee Zellweger & comic relief dad. 4 stars
8/01/06 R.W.Welch Watchable civil war opus tho much of the dialogue is nearly unintelligible. 4 stars
1/28/06 Steve Newman Get this out on DVD - NOW!! Very very enjoyable 5 stars
1/16/06 Frank Rountree Great story and the acting was superb! 5 stars
9/20/05 Jonathon Holmes save your money for "Return of the King" 2 stars
9/02/05 ES Top three actors in this movie are regular Oscar contenders, Oscars mean nothing 2 stars
7/24/05 B J GREAT FOR NICOLE LOVERS 4 stars
5/28/05 Kat bella and Jess Dear Ray we know u adn we r ur biggest fans luv kat jess and bella we put u in our english 5 stars
2/28/05 Ray Lampard A film for grownups at last 5 stars
2/05/05 Amy Bradshaw Beautiful! I love, love, love this movie. Beautiful Story. 5 stars
2/04/05 Aaron Smith Boring and slow. 2 stars
1/20/05 Landshark frequent missteps and boredom on a winding elephantine journey 2 stars
1/08/05 tatum What, all the southern American actors and actresses were busy? 1 stars
12/23/04 Tatiana Pretentious, insipid, and self-conscious of everything but its own suckiness. 1 stars
12/15/04 Etheridge Hoogendijk Yeah! Rather see Nicole Kidman or Natalie Portman ecstaticly end a bout of constipation! 4 stars
12/15/04 Jenna Furr Another sad tribute to dogma that "bodily functions" are strictly for buffoons. The rest OK 4 stars
12/15/04 Evangelica Schnapfenschalz Shows Renee Zellweger CAN act after all. Why waste her in more Bridget Jones's Diarrhea? 4 stars
11/07/04 Carlos Navarro Yuck! 2 stars
11/01/04 Charles S. Lewis Only a partial story of the seige of Petersburg, VA. in 1864 4 stars
10/24/04 Ebert Rogers Made me glad I wasn't born back then 4 stars
10/16/04 Denise Jude Law was good 5 stars
9/13/04 Matt Lousy movie but it reminded me how badly I want to fuck Nicole Kidman. 2 stars
9/05/04 Monster W. Kung Overly melodramatic, with fucking HORRIBLE music. 2 stars
8/28/04 capitalbliss I enjoyed this movie, the soundtrack even more, but it's just a good movie. 4 stars
8/05/04 Chris excellent story. great acting. movie looked great. I enjoyed this film. 5 stars
7/27/04 Phil M. Aficionado Very solid movie, romantic and beautiful. Antiwar and anti-testorone without preaching. 4 stars
7/18/04 Chuck I loved the bird in the Church scene...it showed Ada who the real Inman was...sigh... 5 stars
7/12/04 Darryl Jude Law excellent. A pretty good movie, but didn't like ending. Inman should've lived. 4 stars
7/09/04 djacosta Kidman's ass made my mouth water 3 stars
7/06/04 Sara Bosie was awesome! 5 stars
7/04/04 Jeff Semlow Jude Law was great as usual, but overall just a so/so movie 3 stars
6/22/04 S.F Great movie ! 4 stars
6/04/04 Elizaveta Great music, very involving, good characters, horrors of war, etc. Very good, all in all. 4 stars
5/14/04 earl duron great movie with superb acting 5 stars
5/14/04 Idiot's Mouth Muskewitz is a tool--this sucked, HARD! Give Kidman back; Aussies need waitresses too.... 1 stars
4/19/04 y2mckay colorful supporting characters make up for bloated love story and bloated running time. 3 stars
4/15/04 Ashlee It was too much of an anti-climax at the end, didn't feel satisfied after watching it. 4 stars
4/03/04 DM Doesn't suck but a big, bloated disappointment - Good try, though 3 stars
4/02/04 movieboy Wonderful movie. Grear acting from Jude Law and Nicole kidman and defently Renne zellweger 5 stars
3/19/04 Tam Powerful but emotionally draining viewing. Law should have won the Best Actor Oscar! 4 stars
3/18/04 Dasha Very beautiful and very sad 5 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser How bitter is war? Go watch Cold Mtn.! 4 stars
3/06/04 John Doe This is a great movie and tells an intrigueing story 5 stars
3/03/04 Chow Yun Fatt I woud stay with Portman and never return to Cold Mountain 4 stars
3/03/04 A Film Critic ???You, critics, consider "American Pie" better than Fassbinder? 5 stars
3/01/04 bb absolutely fascinating 5 stars
2/29/04 jimmy two times A shitty version of the English Patient meets Gone with the Wind. Minghellahas done better. 3 stars
2/28/04 Kyle All involved have done better. About as gripping and realistic as "See Spot Run". 1 stars
2/16/04 Carolyn Haywood Total disregard for period, place and people! He failed to capture anything but pomp. 2 stars
2/13/04 Ashley Corpening Good! I'm glad it has the chutzpah to depict war crimes by soldiers on both sides. 4 stars
2/11/04 Ixnay on shades of silliest parts of DANCES WITH WOLVES I hope for a day in movies when constipation can strike heros not just villains&buffoons! 4 stars
2/11/04 NC mountain lover who would've liked authentic scenery better C'mon, both Kidman's performance & movie blow "Hours" SO far out of water!! 4 stars
2/01/04 Smitty Kidman in "Hours" was amazing - here she was just sleepwalking - face was always too clean 3 stars
1/31/04 Mary O'Reilly Duclos Shallow, superficial, dishonest, boring,Silly,trite,overblown,oversized and overlong. 2 stars
1/28/04 Travis needs alot of work 2 stars
1/27/04 caleb murphy it sucked, no emotion 1 stars
1/27/04 Cat Smith While I loved English Patient, I found this film boring. 3 stars
1/26/04 JKEEN Depressing, nasty, overly long and painfully boring. Can't remember hating a movie more. 1 stars
1/26/04 Graham I keep telling myself, it's just Oscar-bait. But I still love it. 5 stars
1/25/04 124 renee has to be thee most overrated actress 1 stars
1/24/04 john bale Its not that its such a bad film its just that Gone With The Wind is so good ! 3 stars
1/24/04 alien assassin This was a well made historic drama. If you think it was boring, you must have ADD !!!!! 4 stars
1/24/04 Elena It's a well-crafted movie, but nothing new, and altogether way over-hyped. Kidman is bland. 3 stars
1/20/04 Andy Woodhead Yawn, Boring, Crap 1 stars
1/19/04 esquire gay 3 stars
1/18/04 VALERIE YOU MISS SO MUCH AS A CRITIC, I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU. IF YOU WOULD JUST WATCH IT TO ENJOY IT. 5 stars
1/17/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Like a prettily wrapped gift--thats empty. Beautiful but a littletoo cold on Cold Mountain. 4 stars
1/17/04 KingNeutron Sex scene really wasn't necessary; but otherwise enjoyable. Portman was great. 4 stars
1/16/04 Joe Kacmarynski Invoked all my emotions: love, hate, anger, humor,pity. Renee Zellweger for best supporting 5 stars
1/16/04 Ralph R. Clemente Zellweger is great - picture is good 4 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Nice period flavor cannot save this overlong, un-romantic drama. 2 stars
1/12/04 Happy Hour kidman+law=zero chemestry. Movie was dull and slow. 2 1/2 hours of my life wasted. 1 stars
1/10/04 Daniel Movie honors the book. Renée stole every scene. Effects so-so(see turkey shoot- ugh!) 4 stars
1/09/04 Amy Kearns Awsome cast and great movie 5 stars
1/08/04 Mark F. no chemistry between the stars and a silly, silly plot! 2 stars
1/08/04 jdogg bad book=bad movie. this ain't history, folks--it's melodrama. 1 stars
1/08/04 Becca Kidman fine, Law marvellously understated, Zellweger showing us how underrated she has been 5 stars
1/08/04 Sara DeVine That's it Hollywood. I've been abused for the last time! 1 stars
1/07/04 Glen Overcah. Wonderful movie.Kidman,Law and Zellwegger pull you into this world of bygone days. 5 stars
1/06/04 Susanna Terrible movie, poorly written and directed, but Natalie Portman's performance is great. 2 stars
1/05/04 Brenda Cold Mountain is a beautiful poem about the triumph of Venus over Mars. 5 stars
1/05/04 J. KNIGHT GREAT SCENERY, ZELLWEGER IS AWSOME 4 stars
1/05/04 Lily wtf is your reviewer's problem!? It was a GREAT movie! What is he, blind or something? 4 stars
1/03/04 A F How many chances did he have to get on a horse? Predictable and boring! 1 stars
1/02/04 Andrea Watson I think its a great story but i did not feel the chemistry between ada and Inman 3 stars
1/01/04 Soo Can Ho-hum 3 stars
1/01/04 jdogg Book simplistic and overwrought; movie no better. This South better not rise again. 1 stars
1/01/04 Mattie G (Surprisingly) good movie ... Little to no emotional impact after watching though. 4 stars
1/01/04 Jane Smith An awesome movie! Devastatingly romantic! 5 stars
12/31/03 --- Anyone who doesnt like this movie has no taste and should burn in hell 5 stars
12/30/03 ownerofdajoint fantastic flick;war is a motherfucker and love is all there is.... 5 stars
12/30/03 Bryant Smith Whoever said this movie outdid the book did not read the book. Law and Kidman do nothing. 2 stars
12/30/03 George Jung Paint by numbers drama with a bullshit ending and an unlikable hero. 1 stars
12/30/03 Alonzo P. Tucker well, i'd never let that crazy goat lady watch my cats... 2 stars
12/30/03 Kelly B Rapturous love story? Is Corliss of Time on crack? Harlequin romance without Fabio. 1 stars
12/29/03 costars Big, Beautiful, Interesting, Intense, Intimate, from a great book a truly first rate film 5 stars
12/29/03 VERA VANICEK Decent movie, too long 3 stars
12/29/03 smartmusician Its a superb movie with great acting, don't know why many don't like it. 5 stars
12/29/03 Bruce Bowe Too long. Some of the parts are better than the sum of the parts. Bad story premise. 2 stars
12/29/03 Jennifer Where does Anthony Minghella get his overblown ideas of romantic love? Did he read the book 2 stars
12/27/03 jamierich godawful bore... who cares about these characters? 1 stars
12/27/03 Pheasant This little movie sucked the merry right out of Christmas!! Ughhhh! 1 stars
12/27/03 regis dreadful 1 stars
12/26/03 Linda Totally awesome.... 5 stars
12/26/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Fpr a Hollywood movie, what more can you expect? 5 stars
12/26/03 Tom Pugh Good, entertaining production. Grim. Epic values, good music, two endings one a cop out. 4 stars
12/26/03 Rose Donovan very shallow lust story - well filmed 4 stars
12/25/03 Superdave its all right, not great. whats all the hubub about? 3 stars
12/24/03 nuke sleeper bomb 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Dec-2003 (R)
  DVD: 29-Jun-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  01-Jan-2004




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