Film review: The English Patient (1996), directed by Anthony Minghella
In The English Patient World War II is raging. In an abandoned building in Italy the French-Canadian nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) cares for a secretive, English-speaking man with bad burns (Ralph Fiennes). Another Canadian (Willem Dafoe) shows up and has a keen interest in the English patient.
We, the viewers, find out that the patient is in fact a Hungarian count and cartographer called László de Almásy. Together with Madox (Julian Wadham), he was mapping the Sahara Desert before the war broke out. The expedition is financed by Mr and Mrs Clifton (Colin Firth and Kristin Scott Thomas).
And I’ll leave it there, because spoilers.
Also starring Naveen Andrews as Kip, Jürgen Prochnow as Major Muller and Kevin Whately as Sgt Hardy.
This is a very long film (162 minutes or 2 hours 42 minutes), and because it’s sort of low key, it felt really long. I watched most of it in around 40-45 minute segments, because that’s about how far I got before getting a bit bored and wanting to watch something else.
It’s by no means a bad film. It’s beautiful, very scenic, romantic, and well-acted. I’m not keen on cheating-on-your-spouse romances, unless the spouse in question is such a bad or horrible person you can see why someone would start looking elsewhere, which this isn’t. As far as we can tell (and as far as I can remember), there’s nothing wrong with the cheated spouse.
It’s a long and occasionally slow film, but it’s pretty good, and I’m totally up for seeing more love stories where one half of the couple is Naveen Andrews.
3.8 out of 5 unexploded bombs.