Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, based on the novel by Louis de Bernières
8 out of 10
Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
For some reason, this decent film has not been a great success.
Its metascore is only 36.
This in spite of the fact that the director is John Madden, who has had a tremendous success with a great film:
- Shakespeare in Love
The cast is also magnificent:
- Penélope Cruz, John Hurt, Irene Papas, Christian Bale and Nicholas Cage
About the latter I have qualms, because he has been filming in his country and seemed to have behaved with arrogance…
To say the least.
On top of that, most of his recent apparitions have been…disastrous (?)
It is a pity to see the protagonist of Leaving Las Vegas, Moonstruck and Wild at Heart appear in all sorts of bizarre vampire movies.
The year is 1941 and on this remote Greek island, war seems to be far away, until the enemy is at the gates.
Penélope Cruz is Pelagia, the daughter of doctor Iannis, portrayed by the regretted, recently deceased John Hurt.
She thinks she is infatuated with Mandras, Christian Bale, long before The American Hustle and Irving Rosenfeld.
The Italians arrive on the island and some humor and awkwardness is provided by the refusal of the authorities to surrender.
To the Italians that is, but the Germans are a better choice.
There is dissatisfaction when the Germans send a captain, a rank that is first considered too low for surrender…
- “Better give in to the German captain’s dog than to the Italians”- this is the statement
Captain Corelli aka Nicolas Cage is the officer on the steps of the town hall that is so humiliated by the locals.
He ends up living with the doctor, after the latter makes an arrangement that would provide him with needed medicine.
Mandras has departed for war and returned injured, but “loin des yeux, loin du Coeur”, the relationship is near an end.
Pelagia has written to the man she was supposed to marry and her fiancé has sent no reply, to any of the letters.
The reason is he is illiterate and even more serious; he turns out to be a cruel, mean man who joins the partisans.
Fighting for a good, noble cause does not necessarily turn people into heroes and the example from Two Women comes to mind
In Two Women there were also freedom fighters, opposing the Mussolini regime, who think they are entitled to anything on that account.
Poor Eleni, a friend of Pelagia comes to like a German officer that is handsome and seems to be kind-only to show his true colors later.
For that, she is labeled a traitor and on the orders of the uneducated and ruthless Mandras, the young girl is hanged.
The horrors of war reach this paradisiacal island, with bombardments, fights and even ruthless executions.
These are crimes of was and atrocities, that involve killing with a machine gun unsuspecting and disarmed men.
This is a good film, even if not on the level of say Saving Private Ryan.