Review Date: December 17, 2003
Director: Anthony Minghella
Writer: Anthony Minghella
Producers: Sydney Pollack, Albert Berger
The picture looked dang pretty as well, with the opening battle sequences really giving you a true sense of the blood and guts spilled during the war, while the smaller town scenes relayed the beauty of the home/family for which they were all fighting. The film's also packed with a number of engaging sequences, as Law's character tries to make it back home but keeps running into interesting characters, many of whom are name actors like Natalie Portman, the great Philip Seymour Hoffman, Giovanni Ribisi, etc... Even the lead singer of the White Stripes shows up for an important role. All of those actors were great in their parts, but for my money, it was Renee Zellweger's presence in this film that took it to that extra level. Things were fine and dandy with Law and Kidman playing figurative footsies under the table to that point, but it wasn't until Zellweger's spunky character hit the screen that things really got into a groove. It's important to note that the film doesn't just focus on the lead relationship, but also provides us with a number of smaller, interesting stories as well (the good neighbors were one of the best developed- with Kathy Baker as the standout) On the downside, I ultimately didn't get as emotionally wrenched by this film as I'd hoped, with its final 30 minutes feeling a tad underwhelming. Other nitpicks include the local "bad guys" feeling a little too one-dimensional (especially the albino looking guy-c'mon dude, this ain't a David Lynch movie), the use of voice-over taking me "out" of the film every now and again, and some of the dialogue, feeling a little hokey (the line that Zellweger delivers about the "weather" and "standing under the rain" is embarrassing)
In the end, the film delivers a potent love story of two people holding on to hope through their desire to be with one another and their continuing belief that the other is doing the same. It also provides us with a closer look at the behavior of individuals during wartime. Sometimes it's the nice lady with the child that turns out to be your worst enemy...not the guy in the soldier's uniform. Oh, and did I mention the quickie shots of both Kidman and Law's respective bottoms? No. Well, I did now. Enjoy.