Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain"--well, I haven't been all over North Carolina, but seeing as Jude Law traipses over a good portion of it, you'd think I'd recognize some portion of the landscape (it was mostly filmed in Romania). I'd also had the impression that quite a few excellent actors are Carolinian--why cast a Brit and an Aussie for the lead roles?
Okay, okay, boxoffice appeal. You'd think if they wanted a little more boxoffice, they'd retool Kidman and Law's characters to be a little more uppity; they're such sodden wet blankets you're almost grateful for the appearance of Renee Zellweger (I never thought I'd ever get to say that) to liven things up (Philip Seymour Hoffman is here too, but he doesn't stick around for very long). And I object to any movie that considers the sexy Kathy Baker a mere matron--that's one terrific woman being wasted there.
Minghella's got too much good taste tho, so Jude Law doesn't get to use his best asset, his brash effrontery, and Nicole Kidman spends most of the film simpering and speaking in a breathy voice like a debutante (she doesn't even get sexually molested). Kidman I thought was excellent in "The Others," but there she had a terrific character to play--a woman with a cold facade that slowly cracks under hysteria--and she had Amenabar's wonderful style to prop her up.
Here I understand coming from Charleston she'd look sore-thumb beautiful, but after her father dies? During the worst of the war's privations? That's just star vanity speaking. Oh, and poor Ray Winstone's saddled with a one-note villain role.