(Review originally written at 3 September 2006)

Although certain good enough and beautiful looking "Legends of the Fall" is a drama that goes totally over-the-top and its story is filled with way too many dramatic elements and story lines to fill an only 2 hour long movie.

First of all I can understand how a person could love this movie. All of its sequences are well made, acted out and filmed. The movie is filled with some dramatic powerful moments. But however the movie as a whole is a completely overdone one. Edward Zwick movies always are over-the-top and overdone in its drama but normally this works for the good, like is the case in Zwick movies such as "Glory" and "The Last Samurai". "Legends of the Fall" however really pushes it. Let's just analyze for a moment what happens in this movie, just for the fun of it. The boys their mother left them, their father is a war veteran, the three of them all fall in love with the same woman, one gets engaged to her and the other marries her while her heart truly lies with the one brother she doesn't marry, the boys go to war, one dies, their father gets a stroke, one brother goes mad and becomes a hunter, the woman commits suicide, Tristan's wife gets killed, they have a fugitive on their land who has an interracial relationship, there also is a crazy Indian who gets discriminated and in the end Tristan manges to get killed by a bear. Oh the drama! Come on, there is way too much happening and going on in this movie. The movie is only just over 2 hours long but there is enough happening in this movie to fill a 12 part mini-series with.

Yet I can't help to still somewhat love this movie. It's mainly because its such a well made one, mainly in terms of its visual style and acting. The movie was nominated for three Oscar's- and won one for a good reason. "Legends of the Fall" is beautifully crafted. The John Toll cinematography is simply amazing and the musical score by James Horner is uplifting and effective. If you watch all the sequences on their own this movie is a perfect one. However when you put all of this sequences together the movie gets a disjointed, overdone and therefor also unlikely and even ridicules one. It's a movie to easily fall in love with but when you really start thinking about it and analyze it, you have to conclude that this movie is totally overdone. The movie tries to take epic proportions at times. A bit too much and too desperate really, for "Legends of the Fall" is a beautifully crafted movie but further more also a empty and distant one because too much is happening in a too short amount of time.

I have to admit that the movie and story gets a bit better when it finally starts to concentrate on one character (the Brad Pitt character), rather than the whole Ludlow family. But after a while the movie starts to go downhill again once the drama kicks in again big time. It doesn't help to make the movie a engaging or realistic one to watch.

All of the actors do a good job and the cast is impressive. Especially Anthony Hopkins and Julia Ormond give a fine dramatic performance. Whatever went wrong with Julia Ormond's career. Her career began really promising in the '90's but whatever movies does she play in now. Brad Pitt also gives a fine performance, from the period when he was still only cast in movies because of his pretty face. Something that ended after his performance in "Se7en". Other well known actors in this movie are Aidan Quinn and Henry Thomas, who both appear in far too few popular movies these days. Still the fine acting can't help to make the movie convincing enough. They still put some life in the characters but foremost the characters remain pretty shallow and distant, as is the rest of the movie.

Strangely enough still a perfectly watchable and good enough film to watch at least once. You'll be mostly still captivated by it but in the end the movie leaves a bad aftertaste. They simply overdid it. Too much good of something is bad in this case.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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