As the American Civil War nears it conclusion, wounded Confederate
soldier Inman (Law) decides to desert and head home to the woman he loves.
Ada (Kidman) pines for the return of her true love as she is left alone
to manage a large farm after the death of her father (Sutherland). As Inman
starts his arduous journey home, Ada and her new farmhand Rudy (Zellweger)
struggle to keep the place running and out of the grasp of Teaque (Winstone),
who used to own the land. All both of them want is to live a normal life,
away from war and heartache, on Cold Mountain.
Setting a love story against a pivotal point in history isn't
the most original movie idea but in the hands of Oscar winning director
Anthony Minghella, Cold Mountain is a classic of the genre.
The story might be very slight, man deserts army to return
to his true love, but it is the epic scale of not only his journey but also
the journey of the woman he is trying to get back to. Told partly in flashback
and then two stories running in parallel, the tale of love and devotion
between two people separated by war will touch even the coldest heart.
Anthony Minghella always get the best out of his actors and
this movie is no exception. Nicole Kidman is on top form as the Southern
Belle who has never done a day's hard work in her life. She really captures
the essence of the character that has been shaded from the hardships of
life by her father. Seeing her face up to a chicken for the first time is
priceless. Jude Law's reputation as a fine character actor continues to
grow with another standout performance. Cultivating the southern accent
perfectly, Law's performance is the essence of the film and shows that he
has the screen presence to be a leading man.
Renée Zellweger steals the show however. As farmhand tomboy
Ruby, Zellweger again shows what a talent she really is. Every time she
graces the screen she grabs your attention and provides a much needed injection
of humour into the dramatic mix. The way she handled Nicole's afore mentioned
chicken problem is hilarious.
The supporting cast is also first rate. Star turns from the
always brilliant Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a sinful priest, Natalie Portman
as a desperately lonely single mother and Ray Winstone as truly repulsive
small town lawman. Brendan Gleeson proves again what an underestimated actor
he is with another engaging performance, this is an actor that you always
recognise but can never put a name to.
The cinematographic is superb. The battle sequences are suitably
epic and realistically bloody. The camera takes you into the thick of the
action as bullet and cannon fire sound surrounds you. The beauty and extremes
of North Carolina countryside is fantastically photographed, capturing the
abundantly colourful summer and spring and the bleak, harsh winter perfectly.
While the story might be slight, it is engaging enough to
warrant your attention for the two and a half hour running time. It is the
well-developed characters and the intensity of the love story that draw
you in to this epic tale and this is what will make Cold Mountain stay in
your mind a long time after watching.
Presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with a Dolby Digital
5.1 surround soundtrack, this is an excellent transfer, as you'd except
from a modern film. The picture quality really captures the beautiful cinematography
of the piece as we follow Inman's journey back to Ada. The sound is also
first rate with a strong emphasis on dialogue and a score that really sets
the speakers alight.
Feature Commentary with director Anthony Minghella and
editor Walter Murch
This informative and chatty commentary gives you an in depth insight into
the making of Cold Mountain. The pair discusses all aspects of the filmmaking
process from the technicalities of the battle sequences to the importance
of casting. Minghella talks about the role music plays in the movie and
creating the right emotions for each character. He also reveals the importance
of each of the characters and the actors that play those roles. This is
a very interesting commentary from a man who really knows everything about
the filmmaking process.
Climbing Cold Mountain: Documentary (1hr 14.07 min)
Director Anthony Minghella, producers Albert Berger, William Hurberg, Roy
Yerxa, Sidney Pollock, editor Walter Murch, composer Gabriel Yared, director
of photography John Seale and stars Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Renée Zellweger,
Giovanni Ribisi and Jack White take you behind the scenes of the making
of Cold Mountain. The documentary takes you through the entire filmmaking
process, from Anthony Minghella receiving the book and writing the screenplay
to the preview screenings and the glittering premiere. This is a fascinating
insight into the filmmaking process.
Deleted Scenes (20.50 mins)
Entitled "Scene 2: Cold Mountain chapel", "Scene 12: Battlefield", "Scene
36: Boxcar", "Scene 53: Ocean by the Hospital", "Scene 90: Ada's bedroom",
"Scene 103: Veasey Town", "Scene 110: Old Town scene", "Scene 114: Bottom
field at Black Cove", "Scene 152: Sara's cabin", "Scenes 173 - 175: Cold
Mountain" and "Scene 189: Teague's visit", these deleted scenes could have
been easily added to the movie. A director's commentary on the reasons why
they were removed would have helped.
The Words and Music of Cold Mountain - Royce Hall Special
(1hr 33.04 mins)
A promotional extravaganza organised by executive music producer T-Bone
Burnett. Film Critic David Thompson interviews director Anthony Minghella
and clips and music accompany them from the film. Complementing the interview
are readings from the novel and screenplay for Cold Mountain by cast members
Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Kathy Baker and Brendan Gleeson along with performances
of songs featured in the movie by Sting, Jack White, Alison Krauss, Tim
O'Brien, Tim Eriksen, Cassie Franklin, Stuart Duncan, Dirk Powell and Riley
A Journey to Cold Mountain (29.41 mins)
Director Anthony Minghella, producers Roy Yerxa, Sidney Pollock, author
Charles Frazier, executive music producer T-Bone Burnett and stars Nicole
Kidman, Jude Law, Renée Zellweger, Brendan Gleeson, Natalie Portman, Philip
Seymour Hoffman and Jack White take you behind the scenes of Cold Mountain.
They discuss the characters, Inman and Ada's journey and the novel itself
as we see how the production captured the time of the American Civil War.
Sacred Heart History (4.03 mins)
Tim Eriksen, T-Bone Burnett and David Lvey reveal where this unusual form
of church singing originated from and why. They also reveal how a real Sacred
Heart choir received a starring role in the movie.
Storyboard Comparisons (9.54 mins)
Watch storyboard to footage comparisons for "The Siege of Petersburg", "The
Swanger torture scene" and "Sara's Cabin".
For fans of the movie, this DVD is exceptionally good. The
amount of bonus material is far longer than the actual film itself and that
is 2 ½ hours long. The documentary and promotional featurettes are first
rate and when you add in a very informative commentary track from the director
you get extraordinary value. The only gripe is the lack of commentary on
the deleted scenes. This is how a DVD should be packaged.
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