Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

It is no wonder this film was nominated for a cinematography Oscar, the wonderful detail of the original novel by Louis de Bernières’ is ably converted. The film has not been overproduced and has kept the provincial timeless feel of the book, without also seeming dated despite the story being set during WWII and shortly after. Set on the Greek Cephallonia were young lovers Pelagia (Penélope Cruz) and Mandras (Christian Bale) a freedom fighter; get engaged before he goes off to war and the island becomes occupied. The Italian troops are under the command of Captain Corelli (Nicolas Cage), who unlike the German troops who are also on the island prefers to befriend rather than antagonise the locals. For my money the flow of the story is far better on film than it is in the book, although you inevitable do lose some of the detail. Cage, as in most of his films, portrays his character wonderfully, while John Hurt as Pelagia’s father a doctor torn between his Hippocratic Oath to heal and save and his loathing for the occupiers, is superb and out classes everyone. Maybe because I already knew the story, or maybe it was the film itself, but it totally charmed me, it is gentle yet harrowing, violent yet tender. Watch it if only for the scenery and the subtly delivered one-liners.

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