Captain Corelli`s Mandolin

8 out of 10


Hollywood's War Time Art Film

Based on Louis Bernière`s novel, Director John Madden`s film portrays the ludicrousness of Way, with deeply subtle irony. Greece, the country that invented democracy, can’t survive more than a few days against the Nazis who step in to save their militaristic Italian Fascist allies from laughable defeat by a joke army of shepherd boys.

On the idyllic, occupied island of Cephallonia, the Greek despise the Italians and respect the Germans, yet the Italians bring only peace and medical supplies, even defusing the bombs found on the beach, whilst the Germans bring only sorrow and slaughter. Here, the amiable Capt Corelli (Nicholas Cage), an Italian officer in the midst of war, falls in love with Pelagia (Penelope Cruz), girlfriend of Mandrus, the leader of the resistance partisans and daughter of a wise, local doctor (John Hurt), and treats the Greeks on equal terms.

Mirroring the carefree antics of Corelli`s men, singing and playing on the beach with a group of loose women they’ve brought with them, is the lone, stoic German army liaison officer, Capt Weber (David Morissey). Again, ironically, he is not even from the German homeland itself, but from the Tyrol, the only German speaking community that Italy has ever successfully invaded and held, in part, even during the Second World War. By the end, the irony is complete, with the incompetent and cowardly Italians under Corelli proving utterly fearless in fighting and dying for what they know to be right, while Weber buckles weakly to evil, unable even to defend his own girlfriend from Greek partisans, who seem more keen killing their own women who fell in love with the invaders than fighting the invaders themselves.

Depressingly, the publicity majors on the love angle, the weakest part of the film. Cage looks like a stagehand, startled to be asked to stand in for a few lines, yet Mary Selway`s casting is probably through the need to have an American star to get Joe Doe to buy a ticket.

"Saving Private Ryan" for intelligent people

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett