A lush, epic, sweeping blockbuster, this Oscar-winning feature is, by today’s standards, overblown and all a little dull and boring.
As World War II approaches its end, a badly burnt Count Almásy (Ralph Fiennes – Schindler’s List, Harry Potter) lies dying in an abandoned villa on the outskirts of Florence. Cared for by a Canadian nurse (Juliette Binoche – Chocolat, Cloud of Sils Maria), lucid and delirious with morphine, Almásy recalls the doomed love affair with Katherine Clifton (Kristin Scott Thomas – Sarah’s Key, Darkest Hour), wife of a British spy in Egypt.
Intelligent, romantic but emotionally inert, director Anthony Minghella (Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr Ripley) draws fine performances from Fiennes and Scott. But the separate narratives of pre-war Egypt and end-of-war Italy are disconnected and strangely unengaging in this adaptation of Michael Ondaatje’s Booker Prize winning novel.
Nominated for 12 Oscars in 1997 including best actor, actress & adapted screenplay, won 9 including best film, director, cinematographer, score – Gabriel Yared – & supporting actress, Juliette Binoche.