Love in the Time of Cholera

Not rated yet!
Director
Mike Newell
Runtime
2 h 19 min
Release Date
4 October 2007
Genres
Drama, Romance
Overview
In Colombia just after the Great War, an old man falls from a ladder; dying, he professes great love for his wife. After the funeral, a man calls on the widow - she dismisses him angrily. Flash back more than 50 years to the day Florentino Ariza, a telegraph boy, falls in love with Fermina Daza, the daughter of a mule trader.
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Kyle Smith1
National Review



(Reviewers' Site/Bio)

  • Review: "Redacted," "Love in the Time of Cholera"
    Kyle Smith review of “Redacted” 3 stars out of 4 90 minutes. Rated R (extreme graphic violence, rape, profanity) You don’t go to Brian De Palma for fair and balanced. You go to him for Mi chael Caine in a dress with a dagger, Tony Montana aardvarking his way through a Himalaya of blow, Carrie’s hand busting out of the grave. De Palma is extreme, visceral, usually in bad taste but almost always riveting. De Palma’s “Redacted,” a no-budget fake documentary that imagines the circumstances behind a real rape and murder of a civilian girl committed by US troops in Iraq, is a piece of anti-war propaganda whose aims I don’t agree with, but it jolted me nonetheless. There are ways that a fiction film can approach closer to the truth than a real documentary. Documentarians suffer from the anthropologist’s problem – their presence may make the people they observe act differently. De Palma’s big subject is queasy voyeurism, though this time his peepholes are electronic and the fetish is for combat. He cross-cuts among the video diary of a young private, a French documentary about the war, Arab news broadcasts, video blogs and terrorist Webcam postings. As we watch one gruesome moment from the point of view of an unseen jihadist, the ecstatic killer whispers Allah’s name as though drooling over a pin-up girl. We watch in helpless terror as the characters, instead of being built up in arcs to demonstrate one point or another, lose their lives at random. Never one to get bogged down in detail, De Palma can’t decide whether his troops are soldiers or Marines; one says, “Welcome to the goddamn Army,” while another speaks of the Corps. But as the troops clown in their tent, guard a harrowing checkpoint and eventually carry out a terrible crime, De Palma gets much right. There are no recognizable actors, no James Francos or Josh Hartnetts to allow us to snuggle into the comforts of Hollywood, and the chaotic shifts of media simulate what it’s been like to follow this war. Few movies have gotten the clatter of the Web so right. The grunts sound like grunts. Their teasing is brash and witty without sounding like Ivy League screenwriting (“Know what I like about you besides absolutely nothing? Absolutely nothing”). Being a reader, and hence of questionable masculinity, one guy is referred to as ” ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ over there.” Troops naturally imitate the polysyllabic void of official military directives (“This deployment? It’s unspeakably underwhelming”) and use slang like “At ease this s – – t” – milspeak for “shut up.” The troops who carry out the rape start out as mere drunken knuckleheads. When a fellow squad member tries to stop them, the reply is, “Are you not supporting the troops?” Afterward, having killed witnesses to silence them, one of the murderers says innocently, “It must have been one of those Sunni-Shiite things.” Vicious as these killers are, the frustrations that underlie their anger aren’t impossible to understand. De Palma wants the troops out now, but unlike most of the Iraq documentaries and fiction films, his work is passionately antiwar, not anti-this war. Whether it’s Vietnam, the locus of De Palma’s similar 1989 movie “Casualties of War,” or Iraq or the Crimean War, civilians do get caught in the wheels of the war machine. Today, when war tends to equal guerrilla conflict, the impossibility of separating combatants from innocents leads to special agonies. A pregnant woman is tragically killed by troops in “Redacted” because her brother speeds through a checkpoint, ignoring warnings to stop in his rush to get to the hospital. But afterward, even as the guy who “smoked that Hadji” brags that “it was nothin’ – it was like guttin’ catfish,” you sense the mask of bravado. Making a bad decision that results in civilian death doesn’t make you evil – not in war – and it’s not even clear that this was a bad decision. De Palma isn’t trying to insult the troops but illustrating how any war puts men in impossible situations. ——— Kyle Smith review of “Love in the Time of Cholera” 2 stars out of 4 138 minutes. Rated R (nudity, sex, profanity). If you’ve seen “Gone With the Wind,” you’ve seen what “Love in the Time of Cholera” isn’t. Did “Gone With the Wind” have more than three characters who mattered? Did you know the name of the war everyone was fighting? Did the breathtakingly romantic love scene happen before the lovers turned 80? Director Mike Newell (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”) turns the 1985 Gabriel Garcia Marquez classic into a telenovela. At the outset we learn that two oldsters finally unite after one of them, Fermina Daza, loses her husband. Or they try to: She slaps him when her old flame tells her he’s been waiting for this moment for “51 years, nine months and four days,” which is also the running time of the film. Flashing back half a century, a lad called Florentino, a telegraph clerk in 19th-century Colombia, spots beauteous Fermina Daza (Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and begins writing her love notes the length of “Finnegans Wake.” She swoons at his words – enraging her father (John Leguizamo), who moves her to the country to cool her jets. He steers her toward a dashing doctor (Benjamin Bratt). After a few years, she comes back to the city, her father having declared her mistress of her own fate. Two odd things happen. Though Femina is still played by the same actress, Florentino is now played by a different actor (Javier Bardem) who little resembles the guy who played him as a stripling. Bardem, who is 38 but looks 50, can’t pull off early 20s, and his stone-carved features are made to terrorize the screen (see “No Country for Old Men”), not make love to it. Gael Garcia Bernal would have been the ideal choice. Also, Fermina rejects Florentino for vague reasons. For the next hour, as she marries the Bratt character and Florentino becomes a rich businessman, the framing device used at the outset kills the suspense. We simply wait for Fermina to be widowed and for Florentino to renew his courtship of her. Miscellaneous wars and cholera epidemics and secondary characters come and go without much affecting things. The movie, populated with good actors who aren’t Latino (Liev Schreiber as a Colombian?) and bad actors who are (Leguizamo really ought to be selling shoes by now), doesn’t convince us either that Fermina and Florentino are made for each other or that tragic forces are keeping them apart. She is married, but so what? There is lots of infidelity in the movie. Moreover, though Florentino writes poetry that is either romantic or laughable depending on how closely your sensibility resembles that of a Bard College sophomore, he may not be your idea of a steadfast inamorato: To console himself while waiting for her husband to die, he takes 632 lovers over five decades. There’s consolation, there’s indulgence, and then there’s Wilt Chamberlain. Not that Florentino seems like a lady magnet. For all of his poetry and his eventual wealth, he seems a bit of a damp sponge. He’s the kind of guy you’d dump for a bad boy like the hard case Bardem plays in “No Country for Old Men” – who would have shot Florentino between the eyeballs on grounds of general wimpiness. ——]]>
    ...
    (Review Source)

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