Sunday, June 01, 2008

Movie review: The English Patient

Extremely long, well-acted and beautifully shot movie about a dying man, his devoted nurse, and his slow recovery of memory as his life ebbs away.

Juliet Binoche is luminous as Hana, the lonely, dedicated nurse who tends to Almasy, played through half the movie under heavy prosthetics by Ralph Fiennes. Almasy pines for his lost love, Katharine, played well by Kristin Scott Thomas. It's unfortunate that the character wasn't more sympathetic. Then, adulterers often aren't.

A fun treat was discovering that Naveen Andrews was in this movie, playing Hana's Sikh lover/bomb expert much the same way he plays Sayid, the former Iraqi interrogator on Lost. Another enjoyable surprise is Willem Dafoe as Caravaggio, the thief/spy with possible ties to Almasy.

Although the movie supposedly centered around Almasy, his death and the slow revelation of the circumstances that brought him to this place, for me the focus was on Hana. Strong, positive, pro-active, dedicated and admirable. A fabulous character.

The movie plods in spots. At three hours, it's probably an hour longer than it needs to be, but it was well worth the watch.

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