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Cold Mountain (2003)

  Directed by: Anthony Minghella
Written by: Charles Frazier, Anthony Minghella
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, Renée Zellweger
Links: Cold Mountain on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD, Buy on Video, Buy the Book
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 4.00 (2 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 172nd of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

Cold Mountain (2003) is also mentioned in mino's review of The Missing (2003).

"If you liked this, kill yourself" - a review by mino

You know how nowadays, movie ratings are given with a little blurb so you know exactly what you're in for when you go to see a film? ‘Rated M for excessive coarse language’, ‘Rated MA for frequent high-level nudity’ that kind of thing? Well, Cold Mountain was rated MA (meaning restricted to those over the age of 15, unless accompanied by an adult) by Australia's Office of Film & Literature Classification for, and I quote: ‘medium level violence and medium level sex scenes’.

Look, I'm not arguing with that. I think that MA is a fine rating for Cold Mountain; just not for the reasons given. Here are some more appropriate reasons for keeping 14-year-olds from seeing this movie that I would have liked to have seen:

  • Cold Mountain: MA (contains excruciatingly bad accents)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (high-level Jude Law-wearing-a-beard scenes)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (contains graphic symbolism so painful that a heavily retarded chimpanzee would think it was too obvious, like a white dove getting trapped in a church and then being set free)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (Jude Law sings)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (contains second-rate soap-opera dialogue)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (actually, make that seventh-rate)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (contains scenes of Renée Zellweger and Jack White making kissy-faces at each other)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (sitting through this whole movie may cause dizzy spells, blackouts, and bladder cancer)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (contains Donald Sutherland)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (high-level stomping and pouting from Renée Zellweger)
  • Cold Mountain: MA (really not very good at all, trust us, you don't want your kids watching this crap)

Cold Mountain is, to put it bluntly, an absolute stinker. It's the sort of tedious, pointless, pretentious-without-actually-being-any-good Civil War snoozefest that gives other tedious, pointless, pretentious-without-actually-being-any-good Civil War snoozefests a bad name. It's a terrible film, marred by terrible acting. I have absolutely no hesitation whatsoever in telling you here and now that Zellweger winning an Oscar for this ranks, without a shadow of a doubt, in the list of biggest Oscar travesties ever; it very possibly outranks both Marisa Tomei's Oscar for My Cousin Vinny (1992) and even Shakespeare in Love (1998) winning Best Picture. Honestly, Zellweger is hopeless; I have rarely, if ever, seen a worse performance anywhere; for it to be considered award-worthy is just horrid. Subtlety is usually a sought-after characteristic in an acting performance: Zellweger's effort here is, in the immortal words of Foghorn Leghorn: ‘'bout as subtle as a hand-grenade in a barrel of oatmeal’. Christ she's bad.

There are some good performances in Cold MountainPhilip Seymour Hoffman springs to mind — but they're only ever in very minor roles, and aren't nearly enough to save this pooch. Zellweger is terrible, Nicole Kidman is only marginally better, and even Jude Law his own self ain't real wunnerful, if'n y'all catch my drift.

Cold Mountain is not just far too long, it's far too dull. A tedious, plodding bladder-burster with as much charisma as Alan Thicke's armpit, and a plot so amateurishly cobbled-together that every single thing that happens is telegraphed so far in advance — or is that ‘Pony-Expressed’? — that there's not one single surprise to be had: and have I mentioned the acting performances? Why, I do believe I have. Oh, and there's also a ‘bad guy’ in there (Charlie Hunnam) who is possibly the most one-dimensional, second-rate, feeble attempt at a baddie I've ever seen in my life. Of course, it was always going to be hard generating loathing for someone when you're fervently praying that they'll murder all the lead characters in cold blood but, even so, he was notably bad.

All I can add is this: if you're making a movie, and you watch the rushes, and you realise that Jack White is the best actor in your whole movie, then your only real option is to quit your job, destroy all the existing film, and hunt down and kill everyone involved in the production. It's the only honourable thing to do.

mino gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 15 Mar 2004

"About 2 and a half hours too long" - a review by pearly

When I first saw the preview for Cold Mountain, I turned to whoever I was with at the time and said "wow - this movie is just one bad accent after another". First one talking was Jude Law, he did okay, but then Nicole Kidman spoke and it was awful. This, however, could not have prepared me for what came out of Renée Zellweger's mouth. Deary, deary me.

Having seen the whole thing now, I can safely say that if stomping your way through a movie and rushing through all your lines as though you just want to get home already is Oscar-worthy behaviour, then I'm pretty sure that ol' Zellwegger's up on stage crying her little heart out right while I'm writing this. Honestly, am I the only one who thinks she's the weirdest looking thing ever? I couldn't concentrate on what her character was doing, because I kept getting distracted by her ridiculously plumped lips and squinty little eyes. All would be forgiven if she was actually good in her role, but honestly, we get the picture Anthony Minghella! She counts out everything she says. It's gotten old already, and she's only been on screen five minutes! Grargh.

Cold Mountain is what you would call an "epic". If I hadn't figured that out yet, upon pondering the fact that we were about an hour into the movie and Zellwegger's character hadn't even been introduced yet, I realised that I should perhaps be putting more thought into getting comfortable in my seat, as I was in for a long road ahead.

Set during the American civil war, the two central characters are Ada (Kidman), a privileged preacher's daughter who hasn't seen a day of real work in her life, and Inman (Law), a resident of Cold Mountain who is besotted with Ada the moment he lays eyes upon her. As Inman and Ada enjoy their first kiss, Inman is whisked off to fight, and Ada is left behind to await his return. After her father dies, Ada must try to find her feet and actually do some work so that she can live through the tough winters and hope that Inman will soon return to her. And that's where Ruby (Zellwegger) comes in: she comes to help out on the farm, teaching Ada how to do the work that her man would normally do.

Cold Mountain is way, way, way too long. Once Inman stealthily leaves and begins his long walking journey back to Ada, the film just seems to go on and on and on. This may be what an epic is all about, and it's probably why, as a general rule, I don't like epics. Get to the freaking point already! When you start to think that he must be nearly back at the mountain by now, he bumps into someone else or has some other kind of detour. It just gets ridiculous.

Furthermore, and this is a criticism of the audience rather than the film itself, when will people learn? Yes, idiots, if you're watching a film set in the 1860s, with people working on farms and stuff, then they kill animals in order to eat. They slit goat's throats, and they snapped chicken's necks. Get over it and stop squealing in disgust, you idiots! I'd much prefer you squealed whenever Zellwegger opened her mouth. (Having said that, I did scan the credits for the obligatory message about no harm coming to any animals and didn't see it, so maybe they did have something to squeal about).

So, is Cold Mountain worth a watch? Well, no, probably not, but if you do happen to get yourself a copy and are able to make use of some sort of fast-forwarding remote control device, then you might find it okay, as some of the supporting roles were pretty cool. Don't get me wrong, there were too many of them, and if they'd cut some of them out, the film would have been better overall, but given they're in there, they were like shining beacons of enjoyment in the midst of an otherwise The Neverending Story (1984).

Top of this list has gotta be the always-wonderful Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's hilarious. Mr The White Stripes Jack White is also interesting to watch. He doesn't do so well on the acting front (fake vomiting noises anyone?), but he actually looks pretty cool (unlike his usual odd-looking self) and his songs are nice. You can see why Ms Zellwegger had the hots for him. As well as these folks, Giovanni Ribisi, Natalie Portman, and Jena Malone have little parts which help relieve the monotony of it all.

I've definitely seen worse films in my time, but I've also seen lots, lots better.

pearly gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 1 Mar 2004

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 4.00
Lowest rating: 3 (by mino)
Highest rating: 5 (by pearly)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

  1. Seriously, what the F***? The expressionless botox fool that is Nicole Kidman should be put down, and I don't mean painlessly, after what she put me through. "Come back to cold mountain" my arse! At least with her next film, the Stepford Wives, her inability to make any facial gestures will come in handy.

    Rating given: 1

    A comment from TomBomb on Wed 24 Mar 2004 08:59 #

  2. I loved this movie

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from J.L.W on Wed 19 Jan 2005 01:41 #

  3. I think you're all full of shit. I loved the movie. You're all a bunch of fuck wads honestly ... the accents were fine you fucking yankees.

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Kara on Sat 05 Nov 2005 22:45 #

  4. I think you're a fuckwad 2 mino. fuck tard. lol

    A comment from i hate mino on Sat 05 Nov 2005 22:47 #

  5. Cold Mountain is the best movie ever....If you dont like it--dont fucking watch it

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from bELLA on Tue 04 Jul 2006 10:38 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 7.75 (4 ratings)

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