The English Patient (1996)
Reviewed on 2012 July 27
I fidgeted through this thing, and I want you to know I can watch a whole Godfather block or the entire Lord of the Rings set of movies in one afternoon. I leave the phone off the hook for Gone With the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia. This just did not pull me in, and I really tried to like it.
A mysterious, badly-burned man (Ralph Fiennes) is tended by a young nurse, Hana (Juliette Binoche) at the end of WWII. Hana is done with war, fighting, bodies — all of it. This man doesn’t seem to have much of a chance, but she is going to to do her best to save him, and she holes up with him in a shell of a building in the Italian countryside.
Under her care, he starts to remember bits of his life, for he had no memory after his injuries. He knows that he’s not a Nazi; that and a book with some clues to his past are the only things to guide him. His story of pain and lost love is slowly, or should I say, s-l-o-w-l-y revealed as Hana stays with him.
Saul Zaentz produced One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and the gaudy, wonderful Amadeus, so I don’t know what happened here. The script was fine and the acting was good, with Fiennes enduring what had to have been horrible make-up to portray the injured Almásy. That said, it still just dragged for me, and I had a hard time relating to any of the characters, despite the skill of the cast. If this helps explain a little more, Mr. Shukti came downstairs several times while I was watching it and just said “It’s still on?”
Two chocolate morsels. If you like this genre, trust me: Go for The Painted Veil.