REVIEW: RED LIGHTS

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CAST

Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins)
Robert De Niro (Limitless)
Sigourney Weaver (Alien)
Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck)
Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Craig Roberts (Young Dracula)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Burn Gorman (Game of Thrones)
Karen David (Legacies)
Bridget Hoffman (Hercules: TLJ)

 

61ulpkqrdalThe film opens with two primary characters: university academic Margaret Matheson (Sigourney Weaver), who investigates claims of paranormal phenomena, and her assistant Tom Buckley (Cillian Murphy), a physicist. The audience is provided with an insight into the world of the opening section’s primary characters while concurrently observing the public reemergence of a psychic, Simon Silver (Robert De Niro).1

The ending of the film’s first half is signified by the sudden death of Matheson from a chronic vascular condition at the same time that one of Silver’s comeback performances takes place, an incident that is particularly significant due to the death of a former nemesis of Silver, a skeptic who investigated the psychic’s work, under similar circumstances. Matheson also had a previous encounter with Silver. She recounted a public meeting when Silver had, for an instant, got the best of her by bringing up the subject of her son’s spirit (her son was in a vegetative coma and on life support). Matheson agrees only to appear on a televised panel in anticipation of Silver’s return. Prior to her death, Matheson refuses to cooperate with Buckley’s insistent call to undertake another investigation of Silver, warning Buckley against such an undertaking due to her previous experience with the psychic.2

However, following Matheson’s death, the assistant becomes increasingly obsessed with investigating Silver for the purpose of exposing the popular psychic as a fraud. During Buckley’s efforts to reveal Silver’s large-scale trickery, a series of inexplicable events occurs — electronic devices explode, dead birds appear, and Buckley’s laboratory is vandalized. Buckley’s paranoia intensifies, as he believes Silver is behind these incidents. Buckley’s calm and rational disposition eventually degenerates into an obsessiveness that resembles the late Matheson’s intense antipathy to paranormal claims. As part of the introduction to the climactic section of the film, Silver agrees to participate in an investigation proposed by an academic from the same university that Matheson was employed by, and Buckley joins the observation team for the tests.4In the final moments of the film, Buckley’s assistants manage to reveal the manner in which Silver defrauds the public through a close analysis of the test footage accumulated by Buckley from the university’s investigation. At the same time, Buckley exposes Silver at one of the psychic’s public performances, and Silver is left dumbfounded. Buckley then reveals to the viewer that he actually possesses paranormal abilities and has been responsible for the inexplicable incidents that have occurred during his investigation of Silver. In a letter to his late mentor, Buckley explains a realization in which he arrives at an understanding that his decision to work with Matheson, despite the possibility of loftier career opportunities as a physicist, was the result of an unconscious attempt to seek others like himself; the revelation clarifies that Buckley’s choices were made in spite of his conscious denial of the existence of paranormal activity (such denial is touched on earlier in the film, whereby the character implies that he chose this career because his mother was delayed from seeking critical medical treatment due to advice from a fraud psychic). The letter to Matheson ends with regret that Buckley denied her the consolation of knowing that there is something more, and that now she deserved even more, “everything.” Buckley then turns off the life-support machine that is keeping Matheson’s son alive. He then walks out of the hospital and concludes his letter to the deceased Matheson: “You can’t deny yourself forever”.3This is a clever movie, doesn’t spell out everything for you, makes you want to watch it carefully so as to not miss a thing. All in all, its one of the best thriller movies I have seen.

 

 

REVIEW: ANNA

Starring

Sasha Luss (Valerian)
Helen Mirren (Red)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Cillian Murphy (Red Lights)
Andrew Howard (The Outpost)
Alexander Petrov (Ice)
Nikita Pavlenko (Elastiko)
Anna Krippa (McMafia)

Sasha Luss in Anna (2019)Anna, a young Russian beauty who has been the victim of domestic abuse, will do anything to escape the life she is trapped in. In a twist of fate, she reluctantly accepts an offer by KGB officer Alex. After a year of training, she is to work as a KGB assassin for five years under a handler named Olga, after which she will be free to continue her life as she pleases. KGB head Vassiliev is not willing to honor this agreement, implying that the only way out of the KGB is death.Sasha Luss in Anna (2019)She goes undercover as a fashion model and is hired to work in Paris. At the same time she completes various missions and assassinations. When she is found out by the CIA, she agrees to work for them as a double agent with Agent Miller as her handler, in exchange for the promise of immediate retirement and a protected life in Hawaii. Miller later tasks her with assassinating Vassiliev, with the CIA hoping that his absence would lead to smoother relations with the KGB. Anna kills Vassiliev and fights her way out of the KGB. She later arranges a meet with Alex and Miller, bartering information she stole from the two agencies in exchange for a six-month reprieve. As she is leaving, she is ambushed by Olga and fatally shot for her betrayal. However, she uses a body double to fake her death and escape.Sasha Luss in Anna (2019)It is revealed that Olga had earlier discovered Anna’s association with the CIA and the planned assassination of Vassiliev. Both women conspired to go along with the CIA’s plan so that Olga could succeed Vassiliev and later faked Anna’s execution to fool both agencies and set Anna free. Olga views a recorded message left for her by Anna, who expresses her gratitude to Olga but reveals she kept evidence of Olga’s involvement in Vassiliev’s murder in case Olga betrays her.Sasha Luss in Anna (2019)Another great Luc Besson movie with tons of action sequences and great spy story. Lots of twists which makes it an awesome film. The acting from the main 4 characters is excellent. The music score suits the whole ambience through out the film. Truly recommend it.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: 28 DAYS LATER

CAST

Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins)
Naomie Harris (Rampage)
Brendan Gleeson as Frank
Christopher Eccleston (The Others)
Megan Burns (Liam)
Noah Huntley (Your Highness)
Stuart McQuarrie (Blood)
Ricci Harnett (Vendetta)
Leo Bill (Alice In Wonderland)
Luke Mably (The Prince and Me)

Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later... (2002)In Cambridge, three animal liberation activists break into a medical research laboratory. A scientist in the lab desperately warns them against releasing the captive chimpanzees, which are infected with a highly contagious rage-inducing virus. Ignoring his pleas, the activists release a chimp, which infects a female activist. She then attacks and infects everyone else present.28-days-later-dying-infected.png28 days later, in London, Jim—a bicycle courier—awakens alone from a coma in St Thomas’ Hospital. He wanders the streets of London, finding the city deserted with signs of catastrophe everywhere. Jim eventually encounters some infected humans and is pursued, but survivors Selena and Mark rescue him. At their shelter, the two explain to Jim that while he was in a coma, a virus had spread quickly among the populace, resulting in societal collapse. They claim the virus had been reported in Paris and New York City as well, suggesting the infection has spread worldwide.83_5The next day, Selena and Mark accompany Jim to his parents’ house in Deptford, where he discovers they had committed suicide. That night, the three fend off a pair of infected; Mark is bitten, and Selena kills him. She explains to Jim that the virus spreads through blood and saliva and overwhelms its victims in 10 to 20 seconds. After leaving the house, the two see some blinking Christmas lights from Balfron Tower. There, they discover two more survivors: cab driver Frank and his daughter Hannah, who allow them to take shelter. The next day, Frank informs them that their supplies (particularly water) are dwindling; he plays them a pre-recorded radio broadcast from a military blockade near Manchester, claiming to have “the answer to infection” and promising protection to any survivors that can reach them.iron-fist-season-2-marvel-netflix-e1534442088624The group board Frank’s cab and head to Manchester, bonding with one another during the trip. At the deserted blockade, Frank is infected when a drop of blood falls into his eye. He is killed by arriving soldiers, who take the remaining survivors to a fortified mansion under the command of Major Henry West. West reveals to Jim that his “answer to infection” entails waiting for the infected to starve to death and luring female survivors into sexual slavery to repopulate the world. The group attempts to flee, but Jim is captured and chained next to Sergeant Farrell, a dissenting soldier. Farrell shares with Jim his speculation that the virus has not spread beyond Great Britain and that the country is being quarantined.wiw-28-days-later-selena-lighterThe next day, the soldiers prepare the girls for gang rape, while two others lead Jim and Farrell to execution. While his executioners argue after killing Farrell, Jim escapes. Jim lures West and another soldier to the blockade, where Jim kills the latter and leaves West stranded for arriving infected. He runs back to the mansion and releases Mailer, an infected soldier West kept for observation. Mailer infects another soldier and they wreak murderous havoc throughout the mansion. In the confusion, Corporal Mitchell drags Selena upstairs, where Jim ambushes and kills him. The two reunite with Hannah and run to Frank’s cab; Jim is then shot by West, who has been waiting inside. Mailer grabs West through the rear window of the cab and kills him, and the trio finally leave the mansion. Another 28 days later, Jim is recovering at a remote cottage. Downstairs, he finds Selena sewing large swaths of fabric when Hannah appears. The three rush outside and unfurl a huge cloth banner, adding the final letter to the word “HELLO” laid out on the meadow. A lone fighter jet flies over the three survivors, the infected are shown dying of starvation, and the pilot calls in a rescue helicopter.landscape-1456933779-movies-28-days-later-still-0128 Days Later has been one of my favorite movies of all time since I first saw the opening scene! The characters are very imaginative and the film has the perfect balance between gore and terror. The music by John Murphy brings the film alive and the camera angles are perfect. It has truly brought the zombie horror back from the dead. The infected and the virus are believable and scary because you never know what those scientists are up to these days… The only downside was the fact that it was only Britain infected (a soldier says that England was quarantined). It would have been a lot scarier if the world was infected because there would be nowhere to run. But overall, Danny Boyle has brought an original idea and made it better and more interesting, and yes, it is scary as hell.

REVIEW: DUNKIRK

CAST

Fionn Whitehead (Him)
Tom Glynn-Carney (Tolkien)
Jack Lowden (’71)
Harry Styles (One Direction: This Is Us)
Aneurin Barnard (Radioactive)
James D’Arcy (Agent Carter)
Barry Keoghan (American Animals)
Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins)
Kenneth Branagh (Murder On The Orient Express)
Mark Rylance (Ready Player One)
Tom Hardy (Legend)
Michael Caine (The Dark Knight)

Fionn Whitehead in Dunkirk (2017)In 1940, during the Battle of France, hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers have retreated to Dunkirk. Tommy, a young British private, is the sole survivor of a German ambush. At the beach, he finds thousands of troops awaiting evacuation and meets Gibson, who is burying a body. After a German dive-bomber attack, they find a wounded man. They rush his stretcher onto a hospital ship, hoping to remain aboard, but are ordered off. The ship is sunk by dive bombers; Tommy helps another soldier, Alex, out of the water. They leave at night on a destroyer, but it is sunk by a U-boat. Gibson opens a hatch, freeing Tommy and Alex from the hold, and they get back to the beach.Mark Rayner, Mark Fichera, Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead, and RJ Casey in Dunkirk (2017)With only a single, vulnerable mole available for mooring deep-draft ships, the Royal Navy requisitions civilian vessels in the UK that can get to the beach. In Weymouth, a civilian sailor Dawson and his son Peter set out on his boat Moonstone, rather than let the Navy commandeer her. Impulsively, Peter’s teenage friend George joins them. At sea, they rescue a shivering shell-shocked soldier from a wrecked ship. When he realises that Dawson is sailing for Dunkirk, the soldier demands that they turn back and tries to wrest control of the boat; in the struggle, George falls and suffers a head injury that renders him blind. Three Spitfires cross the English Channel, heading towards Dunkirk. After their leader is shot down in a dogfight, one of the pilots, Farrier, assumes command, although his fuel gauge is shattered. They save a minesweeper from a German Heinkel He 111 bomber, but the other Spitfire is hit and ditches. The pilot, Collins, cannot open his canopy to escape, but is rescued by Moonstone.Kenneth Branagh and James D'Arcy in Dunkirk (2017)Tommy, Alex and Gibson join some soldiers from a Highlanders regiment and hide inside a trawler that is beached outside the Allied perimeter. German troops shoot at the boat, and water enters through the bullet holes. Alex, hoping to lighten the boat, accuses Gibson (who has been silent throughout) of being a German spy, and demands that he leave. Gibson reveals he is French; he stole the identity of the dead soldier he buried, hoping to be evacuated with the British. The soldiers abandon the fishing boat when it begins to sink. Gibson is unable to get out and drowns. Alex and Tommy swim towards a nearby destroyer, but it is sunk by a bomber. Moonstone manoeuvres to take on those in the water, including Alex and Tommy. Peter discovers that George is dead; when asked by the shell-shocked soldier, he lies that George is fine. Farrier shoots down the bomber before his fuel runs out. Gliding over the beach, he shoots down a dive-bomber, and then lands beyond the perimeter. He sets fire to his plane and is then taken prisoner. At the beach, Royal Navy Commander Bolton watches the last British soldiers leave. He notes that nearly 300,000 have been evacuated, ten times more than Prime Minister Winston Churchill had hoped for. He remains to oversee the evacuation of the French.Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, and Fionn Whitehead in Dunkirk (2017)Arriving back in Weymouth, Dawson is congratulated for having saved so many men. The shell-shocked soldier sees George’s body being carried away. Peter goes to the local newspaper; a front-page article later commends George as a hero. Alex and Tommy board a train, and Alex expects public hostility as the train approaches Woking, but they receive a hero’s welcome instead. Tommy reads out Churchill’s address to the nation from a newspaper. Tom Hardy in Dunkirk (2017)This is an extraordinary film of a moment that was far from the military’s finest hour and though the soldiers are the first to admit that, ‘All we did was survive’, it’s a tremendously patriotic film about the courage, not just of the soldiers, but of the civilians who selflessly took their own boats across the channel to rescue thousands and thousands of troops. This is a testament to the courage of the few for the many and is sure to feature in many top ten lists and rightly so

REVIEW: INCEPTION

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50)
Ellen Page (Juno)
Tom Hardy (The Dark KNight Rises)
Ken Watanabe (Godzilla)
Dileep Rao (Avatar)
Cillian Murphy (Red Lights)
Tom Berenger (Platoon)
Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)
Michael Caine (Batman Begins)
Lukas Haas (Brick)
Talulah Riley (The Boat That Rocked)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)

Dominic “Dom” Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are “extractors”, who perform corporate espionage using an experimental military technology to infiltrate the subconscious of their targets and extract valuable information through a shared dream world. Their latest target, Japanese businessman Saito (Ken Watanabe), reveals that he arranged their mission himself to test Cobb for a seemingly-impossible job: planting an idea in a person’s subconscious, or “inception”.To break up the energy conglomerate of ailing competitor Maurice Fischer (Pete Postlethwaite), Saito wants Cobb to convince Fischer’s son and heir, Robert (Cillian Murphy), to dissolve his father’s company. In return, Saito promises to use his influence to clear Cobb of a murder charge, allowing Cobb to return home to his children. Cobb accepts the offer and assembles his team: Eames (Tom Hardy), a conman and identity forger; Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a chemist who concocts a powerful sedative for a stable “dream within a dream” strategy; and Ariadne (Ellen Page), an architecture student tasked with designing the labyrinth of the dream landscapes, recruited with the help of Cobb’s father-in-law, Professor Stephen Miles (Michael Caine). While dream-sharing with Cobb, Ariadne learns his subconscious houses an invasive projection of his late wife Mal (Marion Cotillard).When the elder Fischer dies in Sydney, Robert Fischer accompanies the body on a ten-hour flight back to Los Angeles, which the team (including Saito, who wants to verify their success) uses as an opportunity to sedate and take Fischer into a shared dream. At each dream level, the person generating the dream stays behind to set up a “kick” that will be used to awaken the other sleeping team members from the deeper dream level; to be successful, these kicks must occur simultaneously at each dream level, a fact complicated due to the nature of time which proceeds much faster in each successive level.The first level is Yusuf’s dream of a rainy Los Angeles. The team abducts Fischer, but they are attacked by armed projections from Fischer’s subconscious, which has been trained to defend against extraction. The team takes Fischer and a wounded Saito to a warehouse, where Cobb reveals that while dying in the dream would normally wake Saito up, the powerful sedatives needed to stabilize the multi-level dream will instead send a dying dreamer into “limbo”, a world of infinite subconscious from which escape is difficult and a dreamer risks forgetting they are in a dream. Despite these setbacks, the team continues with the mission. Eames impersonates Fischer’s godfather, Peter Browning (Tom Berenger), to suggest Fischer reconsider his father’s will. Yusuf drives the van as the other dreamers are sedated into the second level. In the second level, a hotel dreamed by Arthur, Cobb convinces Fischer that he has been kidnapped by Browning and Cobb is his subconscious protector. Cobb persuades him to go down another level to explore Browning’s subconscious (in reality, it is a ruse to enter Fischer’s).The third level is a fortified hospital on a snowy mountain dreamed by Eames. The team has to infiltrate it and hold off the guards as Cobb takes Fischer into the equivalent of his subconscious. Yusuf, under pursuit by Fischer’s projections in the first level, deliberately drives off a bridge and initiates his kick too soon. This removes the gravity of Arthur’s level, forcing him to improvise a new kick that will synchronize with the van hitting the water, and causes an avalanche in Eames’ level. Mal’s projection emerges and kills Fischer, Cobb kills Mal, and Saito succumbs to his wounds; all three fall into Limbo. While Eames sets up a kick by rigging the hospital with explosives, Cobb and Ariadne enter Limbo to rescue Fischer and Saito.Cobb reveals to Ariadne that he and Mal went to Limbo while experimenting with the dream-sharing technology. Sedated for a few hours of real time, they spent fifty years in dream time constructing a world from their shared memories. When Mal refused to return to reality, Cobb used a rudimentary form of inception by reactivating her totem (an object dreamers use to distinguish dreams from reality) and reminding her subconscious that their world was not real. However, when she woke up, Mal was still convinced that she was dreaming. In an attempt to “wake up” for real, Mal committed suicide and framed Cobb for her death to force him to do the same. Facing a murder charge, Cobb fled the U.S., leaving his children in the care of Professor Miles. Through his confession, Cobb makes peace with his guilt over Mal’s death. Ariadne kills Mal’s projection and wakes Fischer up with a kick. Revived at the mountain hospital, Fischer enters a safe room to discover and accept the planted idea: a projection of his dying father telling him to be his own man. While Cobb remains in Limbo to search for Saito, the other team members ride the synchronized kicks back to reality. Cobb eventually finds an aged Saito in Limbo and reminds him of their agreement. The dreamers all awaken on the plane and Saito makes a phone call.Upon arrival at Los Angeles Airport, Cobb passes the U.S. immigration checkpoint and Professor Miles accompanies him to his home. Cobb tests reality using his totem, a spinning top that spins indefinitely in a dream world, but ignores its result and instead joins his children in the garden.Christopher Nolan’s intelligent and complex SF movie is an intriguing thriller. similar to the director’s other perplexing movie, Memento, it is a film which rewards with each repeat viewing. Definitely a film to watch, probably more than once.

REVIEW: GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING

CAST

Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Scarlett Johansson (Avengers Assemble)
Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins)
Judy Parfitt (Ever After)
Cillian Murphy (Inception)
Essie Davis (The Babadook)
Anna Popplewell (Reign)

MV5BNTMxNDkxYTgtNTc3OS00OGFiLWI5YWMtM2I2OWU4YjRhYzRhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_Griet (Scarlett Johansson) is a shy girl living in the Dutch Republic in 1665. Her father, a Delftware painter, has recently gone blind, rendering him unable to work and putting his family in a precarious financial situation. To help matters, Griet is sent to work as a maid in the household of famed painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth). Griet works hard, almost wordlessly, in the lowest position in a harsh hierarchy, doing her best despite spiteful treatment by one of Vermeer’s children. While she is on a routine shopping trip outside the house, a butcher’s son, Pieter (Cillian Murphy), notices Griet and falls in love with her, even though she is slow to return his affections.MV5BNWVhNTQ4NTEtYTNlMi00N2YxLTliYWUtZTFkOGIwN2JjOWZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTc5MDI5NjE@._V1_As Griet cleans Vermeer’s studio, which his wife Catharina (Essie Davis) never enters, the painter begins to converse with her and encourages her appreciation of painting, light and color. Vermeer gives her lessons in mixing paints and other tasks, taking care to keep this secret from his wife, who would react with anger and jealousy if she found out that her husband was spending time with Griet. In contrast, Vermeer’s pragmatic mother-in-law, Maria Thins (Judy Parfitt), sees Griet as useful to Vermeer’s career. Vermeer’s rich patron, Van Ruijven (Tom Wilkinson), notices Griet on a visit to the Vermeer household and asks the painter if he will give her up to work in his own house, a situation which ruined a previous girl. Vermeer refuses, but accepts a commission to paint a portrait of Griet for Van Ruijven.
MV5BMjAwMTc1MzgxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTc0NTgxNg@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_As Vermeer secretly works on the eponymous painting, Catharina cannot help but notice something is amiss and her growing jealousy of Griet becomes apparent. As Griet deals with her growing fascination with Vermeer and his talent, she has to fend off Van Ruijven’s attempt to rape her. Soon afterwards, Catharina’s mother summons Griet, hands over her daughter’s pearl earrings, and instructs Griet to finish the painting while Catharina is away for the day. At the final painting session Vermeer pierces Griet’s earlobe so she can wear one of the pearl earrings for the portrait; she then runs to Pieter to be consoled. They caress and make love in a barn. Afterwards, Pieter proposes marriage, but she shakes her head and leaves. She then returns the earrings to Catharina’s mother.
MV5BMTQ1NjM1NzExMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTc0NTgxNg@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_Catharina discovers that Griet used her earrings, accuses her mother of complicity, and demands Vermeer show her the painting of Griet. Heartbroken that Vermeer does not consider her worthy of being painted because she “doesn’t understand,” Catharina tries but fails to destroy the painting, then banishes Griet from the house forever. Vermeer does not object, and Griet leaves the house in shock. Later, Griet is visited by the cook from the house, who comes bearing a gift: a sealed packet containing the blue headscarf she wore in the painting, wrapped around Catharina’s pearl earrings.MV5BMTU0Mzk0MTE4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc0NTgxNg@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_Johannson’s performance commands the film, although she is seldom required to speak and rarely asked what she might be thinking. Parfitt as the true power in the Vermeer household offers the other stellar performance, while Firth’s dazzling charm from other films is sublimated to his character’s artistic temperament. Of course, the greatest compliment that can be paid to first time director Peter Webber is that he has crafted this film with the same care that Vermeer used in painting his own canvases.

REVIEW: COLD MOUNTAIN

 

CAST

Nicole Kidman (Bewitched)
Renee Zellweger (Jerry Maguire)
Jude Law (Spy)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Eileen Atkins (Robin Hood)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job)
Ray Winstone (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Kathy Baker (Edward Scissorhands)
James Gammon (The Iron Giant)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim)
Jena Malone (Sucker Punch)
Lucas Black (Fast & Furious 7)
Taryn Manning (The Breed)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins)
Richard Brake (Hannibal Rising)
Philip Seymour (The Ides of March)
James Rebhorn (Big Lake)

 

MV5BZjZlMzRlOGQtMzViMS00NDk4LWFmOWUtZDRiZWZjYWE3Y2ZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTYxNzc0NjU@._V1_When North Carolina secedes from the Union on May 20, 1861, the young men of a rural, provincial, North Carolina backwater known only as Cold Mountain hurry to enlist in the Confederate military. Among them is W.P. Inman (Jude Law), a carpenter who has fallen in love with Ada (Nicole Kidman), a minister´s daughter, and finds their whirlwind courtship interrupted by the American Civil War.

Cold Mountain 550Three years later, Inman finds himself in the trenches of Petersburg, Virginia, during the Battle of the Crater. Union soldiers tunneling beneath Confederate fortifications detonate over 300 kegs of gunpowder, in a futile attempt to undermine the position prior to their assault. As the ill-fated attack begins, Oakley (Lucas Black) an old acquaintance of Inman’s from Cold Mountain, is impaled on a bayonet and mortally wounded. Inman rescues him from the fighting and takes him to a field hospital. Later that day Oakley dies in the hospital, with Inman and Stobrod Thewes (Brendan Gleeson) beside him. The next night, Inman, along with his Cherokee friend Swimmer (Jay Tavare), are sent to flush out surviving Union troops trapped behind their lines. During the raid, a burst of friendly fire kills Swimmer and seriously injures Inman. As Inman lies in the hospital near death, he has a letter from Ada read to him in which she pleads with him to stop fighting, stop marching, and come back to her. Inman recovers, and—with the war drawing ever closer to an inevitable Confederate defeat—decides to go home to Cold Mountain.

On his journey he meets the corrupt preacher Reverend Veasey (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is about to drown his pregnant slave lover. Inman stops Veasey, and leaves him tied up to face the town’s justice. Exiled from his parish, Veasey later rejoins Inman on his journey. They help a young man named Junior (Giovanni Ribisi) butcher his cow, and join him and his family for dinner. Junior leaves the house after the feast, the women in Junior’s family seduce Veasey, and Junior’s wife, Lila, tries to seduce Inman. Junior returns home with the Confederate Home Guard, and both Inman and Veasey are arrested and led away with other deserters. During a subsequent skirmish with Union cavalry, Veasey is killed and Inman left for dead. An elderly hermit living in the woods (Eileen Atkins) finds him and nurses him back to health.
Cold Mountain
Inman later meets a grieving young widow named Sara (Natalie Portman), who is raising her infant child Ethan alone; he stays the night at her cabin. The next morning, a party of Union foragers arrive demanding food. Sara orders Inman away for his protection, but he hides only a few feet away from the house. The leader, Nym (Richard Brake), and his lieutenant harass Sara, steal her livestock, and leave Ethan in the cold, though the third soldier (Cillian Murphy) attempts to keep the baby warm. Nym tries to rape Sara but both he and the lieutenant are killed by Inman. Inman forces the kind forager to surrender and lets him go, but as the latter flees, an enraged Sara fatally shoots him. In parallel with Inman’s adventures, the film follows Ada’s wartime experiences. Ada is a city gentlewoman who only recently moved to the rural farm named Black Cove. She met Inman on her first day at Cold Mountain and had a brief, chaste romance with him the night before he left for the army. Shortly after Inman leaves, Ada’s father (Donald Sutherland) dies, leaving her alone on the farm with no money, food, or livelihood, and with little prospect for help, as the young, able-bodied men are off at war.
nicole-kidman-cold-mountain-qa-1Ada is completely inept at working the farm, having been raised as a southern lady. She manages to survive thanks to the kindness of her neighbors, one of whom eventually sends Ruby Thewes (Renée Zellweger) to her. Ruby is a young woman who has lived a hard-scrabble life and is very adept at the tasks needed to run the farm. Ruby lives at the farm with Ada, and together they take the farm from a state of disaster to working order. Meanwhile, Ada writes constant letters to Inman in hopes of meeting him again and renewing their romance. The two women form a close friendship and become each other’s confidantes. They also are friends with the Swangers (James Gammon and Kathy Baker), who live down the road from Ada’s farm Black Cove. It is at the Swangers’ well that Ada “sees” a vision of Inman coming back to her in the snow, surrounded by crows.
During the war, Ada and Ruby, and other members of their community, have several tense encounters with men of the Home Guard. This branch of the Home Guard is led by Captain Teague (Ray Winstone), whose grandfather once owned much of Cold Mountain. He and his deputies hunt deserters, partially with the goal of Teague’s seizing their land. Teague also lusts after Ada. Although the purpose of the Home Guard was to protect the South and its citizen population from the North, they have become violent vigilantes who hunt and often kill deserters from the Confederate Army, and terrorize citizens who they believe are housing or helping the deserters. This includes the Swangers’ sons, who, by torturing their mother, they coax out of hiding and kill. Esco Swanger—the family patriarch—is also killed protecting his sons.

Ruby’s estranged father Stobrod, a Confederate deserter and a violin player, arrives, reconciles with her, and convinces her to make a coat for his intellectually challenged banjo player Pangle (Ethan Suplee). Ruby finds herself drawn to mandolin player Georgia (Jack White). While camping, Stobrod, Pangle, and Georgia are cornered by the Home Guardsmen led by Teague. Pangle unintentionally reveals the band as the deserters Teague is seeking. Georgia is hidden a few feet away and witnesses the shooting of Pangle and Stobrod. He escapes to Black Cove Farm and informs Ruby and Ada, who rush to the campsite to find Pangle dead and Stobrod badly injured. Ada helps Ruby remove a bullet from Strobrod’s back, and they decide to take shelter in some cabins in the woods to avoid Teague and his men.
At this point the two story lines come together. Inman, half-dead from starvation, finally reaches Cold Mountain and is almost killed by Ada before she recognizes him. They later consummate their love and spend the night together.  The Home Guardsmen, however, soon find them, having captured and tortured Georgia to learn that the women are harboring deserters. In the ensuing gunfight Inman ambushes and kills Teague and most of his band, but Teague’s violent young lieutenant Bosie (Charlie Hunnam), escapes up the mountain. Cornering him near the top, Inman urges him to surrender peacefully, but Bosie draws, forcing him to fire; both men are mortally wounded. Ada goes after Inman, and finds him just as she saw him in her vision at the well… coming back to her in the snow surrounded by crows. He dies in her arms. The film ends several years later with Ada, Ruby and their families celebrating Easter. Ruby has married Georgia, and the two have a young daughter and an infant child. It is also revealed that Ada’s night with Inman has produced a child, Grace Inman.MV5BMTQwNTE5MjE4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDc2ODAxNw@@._V1_A very intense and sometimes moving movie experience with a brutal battle sequence, and indeed many further violent incidents both at Cold Mountain itself and indeed on ‘Inman’s’ journey. The film harbours many fine performances from it’s star-studded cast-list. Well worth a re-visit or indeed a first viewing.