The English Patient (R) - 1996 - Runtime: 162 minutes
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Kristen Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Colin Firth
Director: Anthony Minghella
The only vivid thing I remember from the trailers when the movie came out was Ralph Fiennes running from a rogue plane in the desert. Evokes memories of North by Northwest, for sure (which is the only part of the movie I've seen, I think it's on my Classic list...so we'll get to that). I always wanted to rent it simply because I wanted to know what that scene was all about. I thought it was a good thriller along with adventure and romance (how naive, young ck).
Well, late Tuesday night I could not fall asleep and lo and behold, The English Patient was on one of the movie channels! Little did I know the movie was over two-and-a-half hours! Oh well, I thought I would record it and fall asleep.
But the movie sucked me in. A tale of love and betrayal - Ralph Fiennes plays Almásy, a map maker who falls in love with his colleague's wife and has an affair. The movie's told through flashbacks as he recounts his story to a few characters during the end of World War II. His story begins before the war and it's a very tragic and romantic tale. I will admit, I am a sucker for these movies and I was a little worried when we see the end of his tale as the very first scene. The first scene is him flying a plane through the desert and he gets shot down by the enemy. He's badly burned and ends up in the French-Canadian army beds. He's on his deathbed and finds someone to share his story, a nurse who can't get over her touch of death - she sees herself as cursed because everyone ends up dead around her.
But the story finds itself after half an hour and I found myself wanting to know how the hell did he get on that plane and why was the woman in it passed out. So in a sense, this is an adventure, although one for the audience. It's a great love story and out of all the nominees for best picture in 1996, I would want to watch this movie again (admittedly, I've only seen Jerry Maguire and Fargo - Shine and Secrets & Lies never really crossed into my radar). There's also a b-story (as those in the business would call it) involving the nurse (Juliette Binoche) and her love interest (a very, very long-haired, pre-Sayid Naveen Andrews), a sapper (basically a bomb diffuser). Their story was interesting enough for me to enjoy, but I really could care less about it, I wanted to get to more hot sex scenes with Fiennes and Thomas (spoiler: nudity! hooray!) - which is really what this movie's about, obviously.
But all kidding aside, if you haven't seen this movie and really like epic, sweeping, romantic movies like The Painted Veil, Atonement or (gasp!) Titanic, The English Patient is right up your alley.
Rating: Rent It!