ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  john madden

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  drama

LENGTH  -  131 minutes

RELEASED  -  17 august 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  universal pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  captain corelli

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $57,000,000
captain corelli's mandolin - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from captain corelli's mandolin at

buy the dvd from captain corelli's mandolin at

when a fisherman leaves to fight with the greek army during world war 2, his fiancee falls in love with the local italian commander.

was originally to be directed by roger michell, but he had to drop the assignment after suffering a heart attack.


picture from captain corelli's mandolin

picture from captain corelli's mandolin

picture from captain corelli's mandolin


zero out of four possible stars

From the horribly familiar script to the less than mediocre acting, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a stunning portrait of how not to make a movie. Uneven accents, poor dialogue, and pace which a turtle would find slow, this film doesn't even make it out of the starting gate before it steps out backwards. But whatever the book may be, the movie is something that should have never been brought to the screen. And what a pity, because John Madden is capable of so much more than what is contained in this film.

The first mistake filmmakers made was in casting Penelope Cruz? She's never made a film released in the United States that's been a success. She's never been in a critically acclaimed movie. And she isn't a stunning beauty, the usual reason people are fawned over in Hollywood. So how does this woman, who can't even express herself convincingly in English, get so much media coverage? Did she make a pact with the devil? Perhaps that's too harsh. But Cruz is not the only personality in the film with a confusing career.

Nicolas Cage had a good character in Moonstruck. But that was in 1986. And he hasn't improved greatly since then. Whatever attracted Nick Cage to the screen, certainly hasn't turned into a fantastic career. Did those academy members really ever watch Leaving Las Vegas? It's not just that nick doesn't have the talent in this picture, it's also that he doesn't have any chemistry with Penelope.

Their characters are unsympathetic and shallow, leaving no room for the viewer to fall in love with their love story. There is no reason to care about them because they do not create a convincing couple on the screen. And bad script or no, Nick and Penelope just can't make that bad script good. And that's possible. sometimes you've got a less than stellar script, but the actors are able to overcome those sappy words and over-used dialogue. But nick and penelope can't do it. And their co-stars really aren't able to either. It's probably just the script. And for some reason, everybody thinks that the novel is such hot stuff.

The writers really have chucked the big one in writing this for the screen. So many reviews of this film have compared the film to the book, and unless you're talking about The English Patient, it's useless trying to compare the movie to the novel. A movie is never going to be able to compare to the book. They're two vastly different mediums that aren't always compatible. But at least, in most instances, the movie can stand alone and be something unique and interesting. Most of Captain Corelli is just lame. And perhaps it is not the actors' fault. Maybe the script was just too bad.

With gems like "you think you can just come here and turn my world up-side-down?", this film is just chock full of lines that are just so overused and uninteresting, that it's hard to wonder why the woman sitting next to me in the theater was crying her eyes out every time Penelope and Nick made puppy eyes toward one another. And one of the most touted elements of this film, the cinematography, wasn't all it was supposed to be either. Aside from about three shots that showed an inlet near the town and some beaches, there really aren't any spectacular views worthy of the wide aspect ratio used for the film. It's like the cinematographer went out to make something really wonderful and succeeded in making something just ordinary and familiar.

Ironically, the only moments on the screen that weren't boring and unbelievable were the ones where no one on the screen was speaking. Near the end, when the final catastrophe occurs (don't worry, I won't spoil it), there is a sequence where some fast camera movement, a little wind in the trees and a moving score create an interesting combination of elements. But it's interesting that the only good part of the film is when nobody is talking and speaking those stupid words the screenwriter put down on paper. How in the world did this whole thing get greenlit? Was somebody smoking something over there at the production company.

Oh, wait, there are a million different production companies that made this picture. No less than four separate logos flashed across the screen before the movie even started. First you had the Universal pictures logo slide across the screen, then the Miramax logo and an intolerably long sequence for "Studio Canal" films. And there was even another production company listed whose name I can no longer remember. Perhaps those production companies were pulling this film in too many directions. This movie is sadly out of tune and aside from a few moving sequences where no one in the film is speaking and the music takes over the main role, there is nothing worth recommending about this film.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs universal pictures 2001
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