Nicolas Cage, Penélope Cruz, John Hurt
Christian Bale, David Morrissey, and Irene Papas
by: John Madden
Nicolas Cage è un uomo bello!Em
on Captain Corelli's Mandolin for taking away a four star rating
from itself! What am I talking about? Well, CCM is one
of the most romantic wartime films since The English Patient,
but, unlike The English Patient with its dramatic heart
wrenching mind-altering ending, Corelli goes past possible
perfection and heads into "enough already" territory.
A film afraid to let down any part of an audience (here the Hollywood
ending portion of you), often alienates the audience that would
have embraced it; this is Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
a terrible shame, because Nicolas Cage was excellent once
you got over his accent and desperately stopped imagining his
other less, shall we say, moviestar roles that sit in your
memory caves making you smirk with each uttered "bello bambino"
he presents from his adorable lips. Face it no one takes him serious
yet and Captain Corelli could have changed that...
sexy sleepy eyed mankabab can act. Imagine that! But his filmmakers
ruined his glory by foregoing a dialect coach, and leaving a rancid
taste of week old mozzarella by way of the unnecessary, ongoing
ending which muddied up the awe and left the audience bitter,
once again. Think Artificial Intelligence,
positively brilliant till Spielberg had to ad that last 30 minutes...
Corelli takes place on picture postcard beautiful (thanks to cinematographer
John Toll) Cephalonia (Kefallonia), Greece right as the Greeks
have had a small victory in WW2 over in Albania. Hitler doesn't
take to well to this small defeat and orders the allied Italians
to "move in" on the Greeks. It's war stuff I won't bore
this small, but strategically placed island we meet a beautiful
(I, personally, think she looks like a chicken) girl Pelagia (Penelope
" I don't even have to change my last name if we marry momma"
Cruz) and her father, the island doctor (a brilliant John Hurt).
Pelagia has agreed to marry her studly Greek boyfriend, MANdras
(studly Christian Bale) when he returns from the war.
are young and in love, or is it just lust? He's off and she is
left alone to worry and wonder as to his faith because Mr. Sensitive,
Mandras, never so much as etches his "X" into a letter
and she fears he is gone forever.
her father, in dire need of medical supplies, agrees to house
a captain from the Italian army that's been sent by the allies
to secure Cephalonia. More war stuff
The captain, named Antonio
Corelli (Nick - remember to call Emily Blunt-Cage) is a life-loving,
free spirit caught up in a war with his childhood friends not
hell-bent on killing anyone, as, I imagine many young men are
in a war. Capt Corelli will only shoot you if your opera preference
is Verdi, then he has no mercy, and will not be held responsible
for his troop's reaction. It's a little joke, as his men are all
singers or musicians and part of an opera club back home. He and
his bellowing Italians almost make war look fun.
and Capt. Corelli get off to a bad start. She thinks he's an ass
for being so happy while war is all around them. He thinks she's
adorable when she yells. So you know love is sneaking in through
the goat's cheese poop of circumstances surrounding them. Naturally
Mandras, her betrothed love, returns just as her heart and head
is filled will wild Rhesus monkey sex thoughts of the charming
Capt. and herself alone on one the many romantic island beaches
partaking in some mixing of two ancient cultures under the Grecian
before the two men can battle each other the war takes a turn
and Hitler is no longer cozy with the Italians. He's sending other
Italian squads north to concentration camps and Capt. Corelli
must make a decision involving trust and his future.
As they say in Italian as the last drop of Chianti Classico Castello
di Volpaia is sipped from the roman goblet, "il partito è
I'm biased about Cage I adore this fellow. Admittedly, I'd
like to wrap his tilapia in tzatziki and slowly undress him like
the fine-layered moussaka he is. I also think he's become easy
pickin's for the meaner-spirited press. Yes, he's the chairman
of the board at the Nicolas Cage School of Acting where the motto
is: "one expression equals all expressions," but he
really did a good job in Corelli and it will go unnoticed and
ridiculed. He's no Benicio del
Toro or Gary Oldman in the impeccable dialect/accent department.
It seemed Nicky's education on Italian accent pronunciation probably
involved simply popping in couple of Coppola's scenes involving
a Godfather movie or two, while he slurped down an espresso.
Bale looked his usual dangerously sexy self. I think I need a
fix of American Psycho. He's a talented fellow who commands
John Hurt, what can I say that hasn't been said in his long career?
He's an ever-morphing actor who, no doubt, hires a dialect coach
when on call for a "foreign" role. Ahem.
Cruz didn't suck. I admit I don't understand the Hollywood hubbub
around her. I think she resembles Ringo Starr in drag quite frankly
but, I'm not a clam diggin' gal or a red-blooded man so, I'll
leave it at that. She tries to be all pouty a little too much
here or her performance would have been much better. I have liked
a couple of her works so I'll spare her the verbal ballet.
Recommendation: Ouzo and Chianti, served with Porcini Pasta,
Pancini Risotto, Patissada di Polenta, dolmades, for dessert,
La Nociata and Baklava (walnut kind!)