September 2nd, 2007
From a book by Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje, and directed by Anthony Minghella, this is an epic romance set in wartime Africa and Italy. The movie holds its own against other of its ilk - Zhivago, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia. The plot is quite complicated, so this (like most films) is better viewed in a home theatre environment, where you can pause it now and then and try to figure it out.
I don’t have much more to say about it. Beautiful scenery, odd but engaging characters, grand passions, love, death, and the epic sweep of deserts seen from single-engine planes.
The big stars are Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas, both excellent, but my favourite scene occurs when Kip, the Sikh mine sweeper, hoists his nurse lover Hana high in the air on ropes and pulleys, so she can look at some frescoes on the walls of a ruined chapel. (Kip is played by Naveen Andrews, “Sayid Jarrah” in the TV series Lost, and Hana is French actress Juliette Binoche.)
You should see it. It’s long. Make popcorn.