10 August 2015

The English Patient

The English Patient 1996
  • Director: Anthony Minghella
  • Based on Book: by Michael Ondaatje
  • Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth, Julian Wadham, Kevin Whately
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Ralph Fiennes – Sky Fall, Harry Potter, Coriolanus, The Reader, In Bruges, The Constant Gardener, Maid in Manhattan, Sunshine, Spider, Strange Days, The Quiz Show, Schindler’s List, Wuthering Heights
    • Kristin Scott Thomas – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Contre toi, Sarah’s Key, Nowhere Boy, The Other Boleyn Girl, Il y’a longtemps que je t’aime, Keeping Mum, Gosford Park, The English Patient, Angels and Insects, Richard III, A Handful of Dust
    • Juliette Binoche – Paris, Breaking and Entering, Paris je t’aime, Chocolat, Trois couleurs – rouge, Trois couleurs – blanc, Trois couleurs – Bleu, Wuthering Heights, Les amant du Pont-Neuf
    • Willem Dafoe – Spiderman, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Manderlay, Paris je t’aime, American Dreamz,  The Aviator, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, eXistenZ, Lulu on the Bridge, Wild at Heart, Cry Baby, Born on the Fourth of July, Mississippi Is Burning, The Last Temptation of Christ, Dear America, Platoon, Streets of Fire
    • Naveen Andrews -  Red Rock West, Twin Peaks, Dead Poets Society
    • Colin Firth – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The King’s Speech, Genova, Mama Mia, The She Found Me, Nanny McPhee, Love Actually, Girl with the Pearl Earring, Bridget Jones’ Diary, My Life So Far, Shakespeare in Love, A Thousand Acres, Fever Pitch
    • Julian Wadham -  Downton Abbey, Wah-Wah, Frost, Keep the Aspidistras Flying, The Madness of King George,  Middlemarch
    • Kevin Whately – Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Morse, Shackleton 
  • Why: Wanted to see it again
  • Seen: Once before. Now 8 August 2015 with Hal and YW in our read-book-see-film group

The desert is the most interesting character in the film. It’s beautiful. Mysterious. Magnificent. Eternal. Ever-changing. Deadly.
The rest of the film? I can’t quite get involved in the drama. Much is made of the passion of Katherine and Almasy. Too much. It was the least interesting part of the book.
Not only are the complex and fascinating relationships and backgrounds of Hana, Kip and Caravaggio minimised but also changed for no discernible reason.
It does become gripping towards the end but the all-important connection to the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the last few pages of the book is eliminated from the film, severely dulling the political power of the story. A pity.
The film is good but the novel is so much better.

3 * of 5


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