9pm Showing: The English Patient

August 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

An Epic, is a description given to a film that exaggerates the dramatic to produce a bold, spectacular and ambitious motion picture. Usually in a historical, religious or romantic context, epic films have been produced throughout the history of cinema and are usually released around award season. I am slightly cynical when it comes to the legitimacy of epic films, most of the time they are just there to haul in the award nominations and with this there is a certain lack of sensitivity and concentration and some of the more important factors, like genuine story and human characters can be jettisoned in exchange for what the academy box tickers want. Yet, once in a while, a film comes around that is indeed truly epic on a grand scale without forgetting the fundamentals of dramatic film making. In 1996 Anthony Minghella directed the heartbreaking The English Patient.

Minghella paints a picture so lucid you can feel the African sun beating down on you, as his aerial shots sweep through the desert you find yourself brushing the sand out of your eyes and off your face. Minghella’s canvas is brought to life exceptionally by a stellar ensemble. Juliette Binoche may have took home the Oscar, but it’s Ralph Fiennes who continues to bowl me over with his performance. Fiennes bounces around lust, love, charisma, heartbreak and hate with the greatest of ease like he’s pulling emotions out of a hat, he broods, he charms and when he drunkly exposes his love affair with Kristin Scott Thomas it is truly a masterclass. “Lashings of apologies…” It is a shame that Ralph Fiennes will be forever remembered as the antagonist in a certain series of wizard films. The journey that he and Kristin Scott Thomas play out before our very eyes will make you cry, laugh, scream and shout. It is truly a heartbreaking and heartwarming piece of Cinema.

The Eniglish Patient was released in 1996, but it could’ve easily been released 30 or 40 years prior directed by David Lean and starring John Mills.  It is an English Epic, that continues a tradition of fantastic british filmmaking, containing real characters and a real story. The English Patient contains a sensitivity and a real portrayal of love that has yet to replicated as well as in this story. It is an epic in every sense of the word.

 

Image Courtesy of stardusttrailers.com

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