5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2009
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.
on June 9, 2002
I hate to sound flip about a movie that made such an impressive sweep of the Academy Awards, but this film could best be described as "The Elephant Man meets Lawrence of Arabia." Perhaps I was expecting too much because of all the media hype and the awards.
The other thing that got hyped about the movie was the spectacular cinematography. I can only assume this was because of all the shots involving Kristen Scott Thomas's bare breasts.
For example, there are shots of Thomas's breasts with a Morrocan courtyard in the background, of her breasts with the Morrocan desert in the background, and of her breasts with a Moroccan interior in the background. I guess Morroco is so flat that Thomas's breasts are the only mountains to be seen in this vast expanse of desert.
I agree, Thomas has very nice breasts, and I would even say they are tastefully and even artfully presented in the movie, but this is not enough to qualify a movie as having great cinematography, either. Her breasts almost got enough play in the movie to deserve an extra screen credit by themselves.
However, not to completely bash the movie, there are some beautiful and even spectacular shots of the Morrocan landscape (or wherever it got filmed), and the complex story line with its flashbacks backward and forward in time is not without interest. Ralph Fiennes and Binoche gave fine performances, especially Fiennes, who really deserved the Academy award more than Binoche, but I thought Thomas was somewhat miscast in her role.
The movie is also too long and drags in too many places. Overrall I expected more from a movie that got so much hype and media attention--no doubt that should have been a warning to me. But the movie wasn't bad. I give it high marks for cinematography and some of the acting, but overall I can't rate it higher than about three and a half stars.
on January 10, 2000
I have avoided this movie because I'm a bit squeamish about burns and other gore. I finally decided that, since it was one of THE movies of the 90's, I should kick off 2000 by taking a look. I expected a lot more than I got. I agree with some other reviewers that the chemistry between Fiennes and Scott Thomas is lacking, and if you don't have that, there's not much to the film. Their affair seems to come out of nowhere. She flirts with him, he snubs her, they're caught in a sandstorm, and voila! Nothing in their characters seemed to draw them together, and I never figured out what their affair was based on. I didn't buy it. For a nearly three-hour movie, the film is remarkably lacking in incident. I remember that there was some carping when Juliette Binoche won the best supporting actress Oscar (I believe the smart money was on Lauren Bacall that year), but to my mind she was the best part of the film. She was radiant. I (and my eighteen-year-old daughter, who watched the film with me) think her romance with Kip was the most believable relationship in the movie. All in all: if you want a gorgeous, albeit lengthy, travelogue, this might be for you. For drama and romance, forget it.
on February 20, 2001
Let's not even get into the "Fargo" vs "English Patient" arguement. Yeah this movie has flaws...lots of them in fact, but at least it's trying! While Fargo was a thoroughly nauseating bore, the English Patient was merely an under-realized story with lots of lush cinematography,and some technically masterful direction. I am a big fan of Minghella! He is one of the few directors out there that genuinely tries to hit one out of the park each time at bat. As with all directors however; he could not overcome the essential thinness of his material . In the end there is too large a discrepancy between what the movie should have been and what it is. P.T. Anderson "almost" sold me on the plight of his miserable characters in Magnolia (despite also having a weak narrative); a feat Minghella ultimately could not pull off with the "English Patient".
on March 2, 2000
The English Patient is a film that you must pay close attention to. If you attempt to view it with a casual attitude, you're bound to miss something vital to the understanding of the plot (the story is intricate). Overall the movie is coherent and thoroughly thought out. The cinematography is excellent and the acting is also worthy (Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas perform well in their roles). The English Patient is long in length, but it keeps a good pace and isn't boring; films can't always finish up in ninety minutes. I think that this movie is well-made and viewable. One of the better films that I've seen lately. I actually give The English Patient 3.5 stars.
on July 24, 2008
Stunning visuals are really the saving grace of this somewhat over-hyped movie, based on a much better book.
The English Patient requires a lot of patience to sit through, which would be fine if the story was tighter, the acting less stiff --especially Fiennes, and flow of the film was better developed. Perhaps it is just too complex for film... In either case, it is worth a view, but the movie is best digested in two or three sittings, so DVD may be ideal (but one loses some of the big screen magic of the imagergy).
For a much better film along these same lines, I suggest Out of Africa...and I am not a big fan of Robert Redford.
on July 9, 1999
The English Patient: Is it a classic? Only time will tell. The cinematorgraphy was for more interesting than the two main characters, though I did like most of the actors in the film, (Binoche, Fiennes, Dafoe). The story itself however, left a lot to be desired. For three hours I would have expected more of an understandable ending and the flashback scenes kept weaving in & out like stitches. Worth the rental if you like any of the lead actors or if you just want to see a long cinematic soap opera, but if you're a fan of Seinfeld's "Nothing"-ness you've probably been warned.
on July 26, 2000
Ralph Fiennes puts on a wonderful show as the the adventurous explorer with Kristen Scott Thomas (Random Hearts, not saying that is a good movie). An almost surreal adventure into a romantic world of treachrey, seduction and deciet. Ralph Fiennes is simply amazing as the Hungarian count lost in a war that he does not beleive in, and torn between the love of a women and what he knows is right. Willem Dafoe and Jurgen Prochnow also make memerable appearences throughout the film, most notably during an especially gruesome torture scene in Tobruk in 1942. Amazing, thoughtful, good film.
on January 16, 1999
The movie lost the EXACT plot of original novel dealing with anti-war and anti-Western colonialism.Kip exposed his angry when Hiroshima was bombed and he blamed so-called civilized nations for doing the same silly thing in war.Then Almasy took his life ,not for Katharine,but for reason that cruel and deceptive world not worth living for.You find this scene in movie?No.And never.Read the book if you want to appreciate real value of classic literature.Maybe you'll come back here and delete rating-stars.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2004
Based on Michael Ondaatje's sweeping WWII novel, "The English Patient" is the story of a young Allied nurse, Hana (Juliette Binoche) who finds herself alone in an abandoned Italian monastery and tending to a mysterious burn victim (Ralph Fiennes). Like David Lean's Dr. Zhivago, this mystical and epic film is told through a series of flash backs integrated with a subplot that is supposedly taking place in the present. During the flash backs we learn of the tragic circumstances that have led to the current state of the stranger. Fiennes is Count Laszlo, an archaeologist - and assumed Nazi sympathizer - who is in love with Katherine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas). She, unfortunately, is married to the long suffering, dispassionate, Geoffrey (Colin Firth). The two are off gallivanting through the dessert in search of artifacts when the passionate relationship between the Count and Kate ignites. The resulting, all consuming, lust that overtakes these lovers is intricately balanced and compared to Hana's burgeoning romance with an East Indian soldier who defuses bombs, Lt. Kip Singh (Naveen Andrews). Willem Dafoe is brilliantly cast as Caravaggio - a man whose association with the allies (in a flash back) was exposed to the Nazis, the result being that Caravaggio had his thumbs brutally amputated with a switch blade. Caravaggio is determined to brutalize the man he believe is responsible for exposing his secret, the man he suspects is the burn victim lying helpless and dying in the monastery. Winner of nine Academy Awards "The English Patient" is a bittersweet love story between four people (two couples) who meet with untimely and destructive forces that ultimately alter the course of their lives forever.
THE TRANSFER:This disc was previously released as a flipper from Miramax in a non-anamorphic and somewhat grainy transfer. The previous disc suffered greatly from the intrusion of pixelization and edge enhancement. It also lacked anything in the way of extras. For the most part, these oversights have been corrected on this newly remastered 2-disc special edtion. The picture quality exhibits marginal improvements in both clarity and fidelity, due in large part to the fact that this time around the disc has been enhanced for widescreen televisions. Colors are rich, bold, vibrant but at times tend to be garishly unbalanced. Occasionally flesh tones may appear slightly on the pasty side. Otherwise, there is a deep, textured look to the visual presentation that is thoroughly in keeping with the subject matter. Contrast and black levels are bang on. Fine details are nicely realized. Pixelization still exists and sometimes breaks up finer background information. Also, certain scenes tend to look as though some edge effects have been added. Again, all these shortcomings are relatively minor for a picture that will surely not disappoint! The audio has been remastered to 5.1 and exhibits a very visceral and thrilling sonic experience. The sound of Count Laszlo's plane flying over the dunes is both aggressive and stirring and the musical score is wonderfully spread across all 5 channels.
EXTRAS: include a very comprehensive commentary by writer-director Anthony Minghella, producer Saul Zaentz and author, Michael Ondaatje. Minghella has more to say than the other two but all contribute fascinating tidbits to the production of the film and the inspiration for the novel. The deleted scenes segment is presented in a unique way - I won't ruin it for anyone but needless to say it's more refreshing than the treatment usually afforded deleted scenes. The CBC's documentary on the making of the film is somewhat of a disappointment, relying heavily on trailer junkets and very little but sound bytes from cast and crew. A series of featurettes round out the involvement of Zaentz, Minghella and production designer Stuart Craig. There's also a nice series of interviews with the cast and crew and a great featurette on Phil Brady, the stills photographer.
BOTTOM LINE:The culmination of all this extra material and the rather impressive quality of the film transfer lead me to recommend "The English Patient" to all who love a good story and a thoroughly engrossing, great film.