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It's perhaps easier to simply make fun of this movie but it's in my opinion ridicules to call this a bad movie as well. Yes, it's all a bit drawn out at times, making this movie feel overlong and overall pointless but it's all actually being very consistent with the style of film-making and the approach they were going for with this movie.

Basically this movie is being like an old fashioned epic, with grand looking landscapes and a bigger than life story, or in this case love story, in which everything moves slowly but steadily. As often is the case with this type of movies, it's hard to get into at first, since it doesn't really become apparent, right from the start on already, which direction the story will be heading at. But once things are starting to take form and it becomes more clear what the story is going for, it becomes an engaging movie, as also truly was the case with this movie.

I really loved it how things slowly started to take shape within this movie. It also made it more apparent what an actual good and original story this movie has in it. It's not being too complicated either, which makes this movie all the more engaging to watch. No, this really is far from being pretentious genre movie, though it still has some pretentious tendencies in it, especially when it comes down to its acting and characters.

Let me just say I wasn't too fond of all the performances in this movie and that goes for Ralph Fiennes' as well. He actually somewhat annoyed me, which is something that Fiennes had never achieved before, at least not with me. I truly think he is one of the best living and still working actors around but in this movie he went for an approach I just didn't liked very well.

But really, it might also be very well due to his character and the writing of the movie that I couldn't really appreciate his performance. His character, in my opinion, isn't being likable enough and the love story he gets himself involved in also isn't exactly my idea of a romantic one. Nothing cute about a love story that involves infidelity and it prevented me from rooting for its main characters and for them to end up being together.

But OK, I get it. Love just happens sometime, no matter what the place or the circumstances are. And then again, the love story in this movie was never meant to be a happy or careless one, in which everything works out peachy perfect. And that's actually what saved it and made this movie work for me, once I started to realize all of that. It also definitely makes this an original romantic movie, also since the romance itself is often hard to find in the movie. Please don't mistake this movie for a chick-flick, or something like that, since the movie and its story have far more to offer and often goes for a far from typical romantic approach with things.

There are also plenty of other things happening in this movie. It doesn't just follow 2 main characters but it has a wide variety of characters in it, each with their own thing going on. It gives the movie plenty of welcome distractions and often helps to give the movie and some of its themes more depth as well. It's also a nice touch that the movie is basically following 2 plot lines, one set in the 'present' and one in the past, all linked together by its main character, played by Ralph Fiennes. This also helps to give the movie some variety and helps to keep the story moving and it's being a good way for the movie to have some mystery and surprises in it as well.

Just as good as any other genre movie from the earlier days of the genre, in my opinion!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

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