Addicted to novelty since 2001

Col’ Mountain

Earlier this week, I saw Col’ Mountain. I call it that because no one–for everyone is affecting a North Carolina accent–in the film appears able to pronounce the ‘d’ in the title. Speaking of the cast, check out the cultural mosaic who are the leads:

  • One Australian
  • Two Brits
  • One Canadian
  • One Israeli
  • One Irishman
  • Three Americans

All playing 19th century American pioneers in a film shot mostly in Poland.

The film was certainly epic in scope, and nice to look at. Renee Zellweger was fantastic–she is that rare Hollywood A-list actor who is willing to take risky roles. While the whole cast (including surprising, small turns from Giovanni Ribisi and Philip Seymour Hoffman) was very good, they were dwarfed by the scope of the landscape and story.

For me, the most striking feature of Col’ Mountain is its remarkable similarity to The English Patient, another film from Anthony Minghella. Consider the following parallels:

  • A star-studded, international cast
  • A lengthy film on a massive scale, where characters are victims of their
    environment
  • The story takes place in a country at war
  • The futility of that war is a major theme.
  • There are lovers separated by vast distances
  • These lovers correspond, and the man stores these correspondances in a book
    that is his most prized posession.
  • The leading female character is a fish out of water in a land with which
    she’s unfamiliar.

There’s one more major similarity, but it’s a major plot spoiler. Click the link below to read it at your own risk (SPOILER AHEAD):

You’ve been warned:

  • The film ends tragically, with one of the lovers dying.

4 Responses to “Col’ Mountain”

  1. d

    damn you. i clicked on the spoiler, and now i REALLY want to see this film. :)

  2. Darren

    D, well, there you go. I’m not sure it’s worth it, just to see how that spoiler turns out.

    Herb, indeed, and he’s a very fine editor. In fact, he’d be on my top-5 list all time.

  3. alan

    I haven’t read the book but I was told that the Renee Zellweger character is supposed to be African American…

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