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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ownership, belonging and an earth without maps.
After the publication of Michael Ondaatje's Booker-Prize-winning "English Patient," conventional wisdom soon held that the novel, while a masterpiece of fiction, was entirely untransferable to any other medium: too intricately layered seemed its narrative structure; too significant its protagonists' inner life; too rich its symbolism. Then along came Anthony Minghella,...
Published on Sept. 7 2006 by Themis-Athena

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bait and Switch
For all of you who have had your pre-order cancelled for this title, let Amazon.ca know how you feel. Bait and switch tactics are not acceptable. This title has been released with a new transfer and is currently available for under $12 is the USA. Amazon.ca has forgotten that the Canadian dollar is at par and has recently started to over charge on many other classic new...
Published on Feb. 4 2012 by B. Clampet


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bait and Switch, Feb. 4 2012
By 
B. Clampet (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
For all of you who have had your pre-order cancelled for this title, let Amazon.ca know how you feel. Bait and switch tactics are not acceptable. This title has been released with a new transfer and is currently available for under $12 is the USA. Amazon.ca has forgotten that the Canadian dollar is at par and has recently started to over charge on many other classic new releases .
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, Feb. 25 2012
By 
Filmfan - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I agree with the previous reviewer. I ordered the recently re-released Miramax version of English Patient in 1080p but Amazon replaced it with the 2009 Alliance release which is a grossly inferior bare bones transfer(1080i, no supplements). I eventually received a refund but Amazon insisted that I had originally ordered the older Alliance version. Why does Amazon.ca even make the import American versions available if they're just going to pull them? I noticed they've done this same thing with Take Shelter, the Piano, Cold Mountain and the new blu-ray release of Adaptation. Poor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ownership, belonging and an earth without maps., Sept. 7 2006
By 
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: NEW English Patient (DVD) (DVD)
After the publication of Michael Ondaatje's Booker-Prize-winning "English Patient," conventional wisdom soon held that the novel, while a masterpiece of fiction, was entirely untransferable to any other medium: too intricately layered seemed its narrative structure; too significant its protagonists' inner life; too rich its symbolism. Then along came Anthony Minghella, who reportedly read it in a single sitting and was so disoriented afterwards that he didn't even remember where he was -- but who called producer Paul Zaentz the very next morning and talked him into bringing the novel to the screen. Two major studios and several fights over the casting of key roles later, the result were an astonishing nine Oscars (Best Picture, Director - Anthony Minghella -, Supporting Actress - Juliette Binoche -, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Original Score and Sound), as well as scores of other awards.

"The English Patient" is an epic tale of love and loss; of ownership, belonging and the bars erected thereto. It unites the stories of five people: Hungarian count Laszlo de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), mistaken as English by a British Army medical unit in Italy after professing to have forgotten his identity; Hana (Juliette Binoche), Almasy's Canadian nurse; Katherine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas), his erstwhile lover; Kip (Naveen Andrews), a Sikh sapper and Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), an ex-spy and thief. All outsiders, they are struggling to come to terms with their lives: Almasy, on his deathbed, reflects back to his life as a North African explorer and his affair with Katherine; Hana believes herself cursed because everybody she cares for dies (in the movie her fiance and her best friend; in the novel her fiance, her father and her unborn baby), Katherine is taken to an all-male company of explorers in Cairo by her husband Geoffrey (Colin Firth), Kip, like Hana, is far away from home (the only Indian in an otherwise British and Italian environment) and Caravaggio lost his livelihood after his thumbs were cut off in captivity by the Germans, on a sadistic officer (Juergen Prochnow)'s orders.

Like the novel, the movie's story largely unfolds in flashbacks: After Hana convinces her superiors to let her stay and nurse Almasy in an abandoned Tuscan villa, she and new arrival Caravaggio, who holds Almasy responsible for his fate, extract the details of his life in Africa and the truth about Katherine, Geoffrey and the events uniting him with the Cliftons and Caravaggio from Almasy in a series of conversations. But at the same time, the story is anchored in the present by Hana's growing attachment to Kip, which shines a different light on the themes also driving Almasy and his relationship with Katherine. The film's outstanding cast, which in key roles also includes Julian Wadham as Almasy's friend Madox and Kevin Whately as Kip's sergeant Hardy carries the story marvelously: Probably their biggest award loss (besides Fiennes's and Scott Thomas's Oscar and other "best lead" nominations and Minghella's screenplay Oscar nomination) was the 1997 SAG ensemble award, which instead went to "The Birdcage."

In his screenplay Minghella made several changes vis-a-vis the novel; the biggest of these doubtlessly a shift in focus from Hana, Caravaggio and Kip to Almasy and Katherine, and the fact that the film is much more explicit about Almasy's identity than the novel. Both were wise choices: Hana's inner demons in the novel are largely exactly that -- *inner* demons, moreover, substantially grounded in the past and thus even more difficult to portray than Almasy's and Katherine's. Similarly, once the focus had moved to the latter couple, Kip's back story would have extended the movie without significantly advancing it; and the same is true for the intersections between Caravaggio's path and that of Hana's father. Secondly, mistaken *national* identity is overall more central to Almasy's character than identity as such; so the novel's intricate mystery about his persona might well have proven unnecessarily distracting in the movie's context. Indeed, once Almasy had become the story's greatest focus, much of its symbolism virtually even required that there be no real doubt about his identity.

But in all core respects, Minghella remained faithful to Ondaatje's novel; particularly regarding its profoundly impressionistic imagery, as shown, for example, in the curves formed by the Northern African desert's endless sand dunes, which in John Seale's magnificent and justly awardwinning cinematography resemble those of a woman's body as much as they do in Ondaatje's language, thus uniting Almasy's two greatest loves in a single symbol.

Doubtlessly the most important image is that of maps: Guides to unknown places like those drawn by Almasy and his friends during their explorations, but also tools of ownership like the cartography of Northern Africa made possible by Geoffrey Clifton's photos, and ultimately symbols of betrayal, as Almasy surrenders his maps to the Germans in exchange for a plane after he feels deserted by the British. And while Kip, who spends all day searching for bombs but wants to be found at night, guides Hana to himself by a series of tiny signposts in the form of oil lamps -- but still never tries to expect her, in order not to get too much attached to her -- Almasy, the perpetual loner who declares that he hates ownership more than anything else, gets so attached to Katherine that he claims her suprasternal notch as his exclusive property and later refers to her as his wife, which due to her marriage to Geoffrey she couldn't truly be in life and could only symbolically become in death. -- The final word on maps, belonging and ownership, however, is part of Katherine's legacy to Almasy (and I still prefer the novel's language here):

"I believe in such cartography -- to be marked by nature, not just label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. ... All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a beautiful and moving movie, Aug. 26 2009
This review is from: The English Patient [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
I watched that film over and over and it gets better with time...What a beautiful love story ! Passion, betray, deepness, human relations...with marvelous landscapes and costumes. And so well played! Especially Kristin Scott Thomas and Ralph Fiennes...You can not imagine other actors in these roles. The sand is also a very important personage...some scenes are so intense that you will never forget them...For me, one of the best film ever. Juliette Binoche won an Oscar for her role and she deserved it but the only thing is that she is French and she was supposed to be a French-Canadian. So her accent is not exact. But probably noticed only by French speaking persons...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OVER THE DESERT, IN AN ENGLISH PLANE FLYING ON GERMAN GASOLINE..., Nov. 10 2007
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: The English Patient (DVD)
Love and Betrayal. God and Country. Courage and Frailty. The whole range of Human Condition is captured on a canvas of infinite sands and beige dreams.

This is a breathtaking film that got the Oscar acclaim it deserved. A Modern Classic - people of coming generations will talk of this film the same way we talk about CASABLANCA.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OVER THE DESERT, IN AN ENGLISH PLANE FLYING ON GERMAN GASOLINE..., Nov. 10 2007
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: NEW English Patient (DVD) (DVD)
Love and Betrayal. God and Country. Courage and Frailty. The whole range of Human Condition is captured on a canvas of infinite sands and beige dreams.

This is a breathtaking film that got the Oscar acclaim it deserved. A Modern Classic - people of coming generations will talk of this film the same way we talk about CASABLANCA.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The English Patient Blu-ray disappoints, June 15 2009
By 
R. McCracken "Rich" (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The English Patient [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
Though this Blu-ray version looks better than the previous DVD, it is a marginal improvement when viewed on a 1080p projector (mine is the Sony Pearl) at 8 feet width. Film grain is heavy and the print source is a bit dirty and gritty and slightly fuzzy. My guess is that very little was done to prepare this disc for release.

I wouldn't recommend this disc to most buyers unless you absolutely adore this film (as I do)

The sound in DTS-MA is excellent, though, and an does not disappoint.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ownership, belonging and an earth without maps., Sept. 7 2006
By 
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The English Patient (DVD)
After the publication of Michael Ondaatje's Booker-Prize-winning "English Patient," conventional wisdom soon held that the novel, while a masterpiece of fiction, was entirely untransferable to any other medium: too intricately layered seemed its narrative structure; too significant its protagonists' inner life; too rich its symbolism. Then along came Anthony Minghella, who reportedly read it in a single sitting and was so disoriented afterwards that he didn't even remember where he was -- but who called producer Paul Zaentz the very next morning and talked him into bringing the novel to the screen. Two major studios and several fights over the casting of key roles later, the result were an astonishing nine Oscars (Best Picture, Director - Anthony Minghella -, Supporting Actress - Juliette Binoche -, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Original Score and Sound), as well as scores of other awards.

"The English Patient" is an epic tale of love and loss; of ownership, belonging and the bars erected thereto. It unites the stories of five people: Hungarian count Laszlo de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), mistaken as English by a British Army medical unit in Italy after professing to have forgotten his identity; Hana (Juliette Binoche), Almasy's Canadian nurse; Katherine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas), his erstwhile lover; Kip (Naveen Andrews), a Sikh sapper and Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), an ex-spy and thief. All outsiders, they are struggling to come to terms with their lives: Almasy, on his deathbed, reflects back to his life as a North African explorer and his affair with Katherine; Hana believes herself cursed because everybody she cares for dies (in the movie her fiance and her best friend; in the novel her fiance, her father and her unborn baby), Katherine is taken to an all-male company of explorers in Cairo by her husband Geoffrey (Colin Firth), Kip, like Hana, is far away from home (the only Indian in an otherwise British and Italian environment) and Caravaggio lost his livelihood after his thumbs were cut off in captivity by the Germans, on a sadistic officer (Juergen Prochnow)'s orders.

Like the novel, the movie's story largely unfolds in flashbacks: After Hana convinces her superiors to let her stay and nurse Almasy in an abandoned Tuscan villa, she and new arrival Caravaggio, who holds Almasy responsible for his fate, extract the details of his life in Africa and the truth about Katherine, Geoffrey and the events uniting him with the Cliftons and Caravaggio from Almasy in a series of conversations. But at the same time, the story is anchored in the present by Hana's growing attachment to Kip, which shines a different light on the themes also driving Almasy and his relationship with Katherine. The film's outstanding cast, which in key roles also includes Julian Wadham as Almasy's friend Madox and Kevin Whately as Kip's sergeant Hardy carries the story marvelously: Probably their biggest award loss (besides Fiennes's and Scott Thomas's Oscar and other "best lead" nominations and Minghella's screenplay Oscar nomination) was the 1997 SAG ensemble award, which instead went to "The Birdcage."

In his screenplay Minghella made several changes vis-a-vis the novel; the biggest of these doubtlessly a shift in focus from Hana, Caravaggio and Kip to Almasy and Katherine, and the fact that the film is much more explicit about Almasy's identity than the novel. Both were wise choices: Hana's inner demons in the novel are largely exactly that -- *inner* demons, moreover, substantially grounded in the past and thus even more difficult to portray than Almasy's and Katherine's. Similarly, once the focus had moved to the latter couple, Kip's back story would have extended the movie without significantly advancing it; and the same is true for the intersections between Caravaggio's path and that of Hana's father. Secondly, mistaken *national* identity is overall more central to Almasy's character than identity as such; so the novel's intricate mystery about his persona might well have proven unnecessarily distracting in the movie's context. Indeed, once Almasy had become the story's greatest focus, much of its symbolism virtually even required that there be no real doubt about his identity.

But in all core respects, Minghella remained faithful to Ondaatje's novel; particularly regarding its profoundly impressionistic imagery, as shown, for example, in the curves formed by the Northern African desert's endless sand dunes, which in John Seale's magnificent and justly awardwinning cinematography resemble those of a woman's body as much as they do in Ondaatje's language, thus uniting Almasy's two greatest loves in a single symbol.

Doubtlessly the most important image is that of maps: Guides to unknown places like those drawn by Almasy and his friends during their explorations, but also tools of ownership like the cartography of Northern Africa made possible by Geoffrey Clifton's photos, and ultimately symbols of betrayal, as Almasy surrenders his maps to the Germans in exchange for a plane after he feels deserted by the British. And while Kip, who spends all day searching for bombs but wants to be found at night, guides Hana to himself by a series of tiny signposts in the form of oil lamps -- but still never tries to expect her, in order not to get too much attached to her -- Almasy, the perpetual loner who declares that he hates ownership more than anything else, gets so attached to Katherine that he claims her suprasternal notch as his exclusive property and later refers to her as his wife, which due to her marriage to Geoffrey she couldn't truly be in life and could only symbolically become in death. -- The final word on maps, belonging and ownership, however, is part of Katherine's legacy to Almasy (and I still prefer the novel's language here):

"I believe in such cartography -- to be marked by nature, not just label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. ... All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps."
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5.0 out of 5 stars The English Patient, Oct. 15 2002
By 
Linda Laucks (Jefferson City, MO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: English Patient [VHS] (VHS Tape)
After the badly burned Hungarian patient Count Laszlo de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes) is pulled from the wreckage of a plane, he is taken to a military hospital with no memory of his past. During the journey through Italy, his Canadian nurse Hanna (Juliette Binoche) insists on staying behind in a monastery to prevent further injury and discomfort to her patient. While secluded in the countryside a different world with new meaning unfolds for both of them. The Count flashes back to recall his life as an archeologist on a map making expedition, where he meets and falls in love with a married English woman, Katherine (Kristin Scott Thomas). During his stay, he slowly regains the memories of their life together.
Meanwhile, Hanna who has lost a lover and a best friend in the war, meets Kip (Naveen Andrews), a Sikh bomb disposal expert, and she becomes romantically involved.

Anthony Minghella, director of The English Patient, remarkably brings cultural diversity, compassion, and emotion all together in this film. The cinematography captured by John Seale shows not only the beauty of the desert and its unknown secrets, but also the coldness of the villages during the war. After viewing this film, it leaves no doubt to why this film won nine Academy Awards and Best Film in 1996.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Remarkable Film, July 29 2002
This review is from: The English Patient (DVD)
In a style reminiscent of the best of David Lean, this romantic love story sweeps across the screen with epic proportions equal to the vast desert regions against which it is set. It's a film which purports that one does not choose love, but rather that it's love that does the choosing, regardless of who, where or when; and furthermore, that it's a matter of the heart often contingent upon prevailing conditions and circumstances. And thus is the situation in "The English Patient," directed by Anthony Minghella, the story of two people who discover passion and true love in the most inopportune of places and times, proving that when it is predestined, love will find a way.
It's WWII; flying above the African desert, Hungarian Count Laszlo de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes) is shot down, his biplane mistaken for an enemy aircraft. And though he survives the crash, he is severely burned. To his great good fortune, however, he is rescued by a tribe of nomads and winds up in a hospital. But existing conditions are governed by circumstances of war, and Almasy soon becomes one of many patients being transported via convoy to a different facility. Upon reaching Italy, he is too weak and ill to continue on, and a Canadian nurse, Hana (Juliette Binoche), volunteers to stay behind with him at an abandoned monastery.
Hana soon discovers that her charge is something of a man of mystery, as Almasy remembers nothing of his past, and not even his own name. Thought to be English, the only clues pointing to who he is are contained in a book found in his possession after the crash, but even they are as cryptic as Hana's patient. Slowly, however, under prompting from Hana, Almasy begins to remember bits and pieces of his life, and his story begins to unfold. And his memory is helped along even more by the appearance of a mysterious stranger named Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), who suspects that Almasy is the man he's been looking for-- a man with whom he wants to settle a score. But, burned beyond recognition, Almasy may or may not be that man. Meanwhile, Almasy's memories continue to surface; memories of a woman he loved, Katherine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas)-- as well as memories of Katherine's husband, Geoffrey (Colin Firth). And, crippled in mind and body as he is, those memories become the only thing left to which he can cling with any hope at all, even as his life seems to be slipping farther away with each passing moment.
In addition to directing, Anthony Minghella also wrote the screenplay for this film, which he adapted from the novel by Michael Ondaatje. The result is an epic saga presented in the tradition of Lean's "Doctor Zhivago" and "Lawrence of Arabia"; a magnificent film that fills the screen and the senses with unprecedented grandeur and beauty. Simply put, Minghella's film is genius realized; crafted and delivered with a poetic perfection, watching it is like watching a Monet come to life. From the opening frames, Minghella casts a hypnotic spell over his audience that is binding and transporting, with a story that has an emotional beauty that equals the engagingly stunning and vibrant images brought to life by John Seale's remarkable cinematography; images that virtually fill the screen as well as the soul of the viewer. In every sense, this is a film of rare eloquence, with a striking emotional capacity that facilitates an experience that is truly transcendental. Nominated in twelve categories, it deservedly received a total of nine Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress (Binoche) and Cinematography.
If one had to choose a single word to describe the "essence" of this film, it would be "excellence." Even an extraordinary film, however, does not receive nine Oscars without performances that are extraordinary in kind; and the performances given by Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas here transcend the term "Oscar worthy." Nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Almasy (Geoffrey Rush was awarded the gold for "Shine"), Fiennes has never been better, achieving an emotional depth with his character that is nearly palpable. Private and introspective, Almasy is not by his very nature an individual to whom the audience will be able to form an intimate connection; Fiennes, however, finds a way to open that emotional door just enough to let you in, enough so that you taste the honest passion welling up within him. And it works. Almasy does not seek your friendship; he will, however, gain your compassion.
Kristen Scott Thomas, too, received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress (Frances McDormand received the award for "Fargo") for her portrayal of Katherine, a woman whose stoic countenance masks the emotional conflict raging within her, born of the forbidden passion that enslaves her and yet to which she gives herself willingly, casting off her shackles of repression to embrace a love so strong it threatens to consume her. The reserve Katherine must maintain evokes the empathy of the audience, as Scott Thomas successfully mines the emotional depths of her character to the greatest possible effect. It's the kind of performance that draws you in and holds you fast, taking you as it does beyond that curtain of hypocrisy that dictates what must be if only for the sake of appearances, and allows you to experience a true sense of unbridled passion. Understated and shaded with subtlety, it's terrific work by Kristin Scott Thomas.
Binoche gives a stunning, affecting performance, as well, as the kindhearted nurse, Hana; it is her humanity, in fact, which defines love in it's purest sense and offers a balanced perspective of it within the context of the film. Her relationship with Kip (Naveen Andrews) affords us a glimpse of passion of another kind, which contrasts effectively with the intensity of that between Almasy and Katherine. "The English Patient" is a film that will move you and fill you emotionally; one you will not want to see end.
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The English Patient [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
The English Patient [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) by Anthony Minghella (Blu-ray - 2010)
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