Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rewind: Cold Mountain...Still Cooler than Ever

“All we can do is make peace from the past and learn from it.” Consider that line closely before you view Cold Mountain, which follows the years-long trek of Inman (Jude Law), an AWOL Confederate soldier on his way back into the arms of the woman he loves but kissed only once. That woman is the Charleston-bred belle Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman). Unprepared to cultivate father’s back forty, Ada is forced to face life alone in the harsh foothills when he dies. She eventually begins to butch-up with the help of Ruby Thewes (Renee Zellwegger), a hill-betty who’s got “daddy issues” herself. Meanwhile, Inman crosses paths with a colorful succession of characters like Veasey, the “prurient preacher” who adds off-color hijinks like only (pre-Oscar) Philip Seymour Hoffman could.

There’s also Junior, a five-toothed schmoe with the I.Q. of a wagon wheel – a role Giovanni Ribisi was born to play. Sally Swanger (Kathy Baker) morphs from the friendly neighbor up the dirt road into a shriveled portrait of hard luck personified. Zellwegger goes over the top and beyond it with a hayseed accent and mannerisms that are straight out of the blue ridge bluffs- albeit a tad too Hee-Haw at points. The cinematography is crisp: there’s the ever-present foggy mountain humpbacks implying Appalachians, (though shot in Romania). Comparisons to Homer’s Odyssey are superfluous, so let’s not. There’s more to this film than Confederate scrip and corn pone. The film stays remarkably true to Charles Frazier’s book. Whether you read Cold Mountain first or not, once that haunting music starts playing and the emotions start to wash over you, you’ll be crying like a little bitch- just like everyone else who’d said they were above it, including yours truly...

Here's a clip featuring Kidman and Renee Zellwegger getting country widdit:

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Anonymous deadmandeadman said...

A nice review, Mr Pryor. It was an excellent movie, poignant without bein' maudlin, powerful without a bludgeon. A sad reminder that the journey with-in is often far more arduous then the journey without. But more rewarding.

4:22 PM, March 25, 2007  

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