Life is Still Beautiful
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Review by Ross Anthony

"Surrendering to the [German] Captain's dog is more desirable than surrendering to an Italian." A quaint Greek Island city proudly suffers occupation during World War II.

John Hurt is steadfast as the town's apt, wise medical doctor. In the very first scene, even before the picture rolls, we can hear him confer with a local who's deaf in one ear. Leaving the picture dark for an extended period is a sweet artistic choice, adding to that, I'd have panned all audio to one side of the theater; until, of course, the pea is removed from the man's ear. A minor tweak to a near flawlessly directed, written/adapted, and performed production.

Penelope, the doctor's daughter, falls in love with Bale, a local fisherman. When he leaves the Captain Corelli's Mandolinvillage to fight the aggressing Italians, Cage and fellow serenading Italian soldiers take over the town. The musical Cage immediately falls for this sharp, young, confused beauty.

Cruz, Bale, Hurt are all magnificent, Cage is also very strong. Though the poster may bring to mind a production released just a couple of months prior ("Pearl Harbor"); the differences are 1) in two years it won't, because 2) "Mandolin" is an excellent film.

Cage defends his cheerful demeanor, "In times of war we have to make the most of what little innocent pleasure there is."

A dramatic film, I'd wager, Roberto Benigni would enjoy.

"He's the rest, the pause between notes."

  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Copyright © 2001. Rated R.
  • Starring Penelope Cruz, John Hurt, Christian Bale, Nicolas Cage, Piero Maggio.
  • Directed by John Madden.
  • Screenply by Shawn Slow, Based on the novel by Louis De Bernieres.
  • Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Kevin Loader, Mark Huffam at Universal/StudioCanal/Miramax/WorkingTitle.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:16:24 PDT