Captain Corellis Mandolin

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz, Christian Bale, John Hurt
Director: John Madden

Here comes another Hollywood adaptation of a best seller, so it should be good, right? Well this is a good movie but unfortunately not quality. What could the problem be?

Set during World War II, part of the Italian army takes over the beautiful Greek island of Cephallonia. We find the island’s doctor Iannis (John Hurt) is resigned to the fact that his daughter Pelagia (Penelope Cruz), who is engaged to Mandras (Christian Bale), will marry him when he comes back from serving his time with the Greek army. Pelagia promises to write to her fiance everyday and she does. When Mandras does not write back to Pelagia, she fears the worst that he has been killed, even though his name does not appear on the updated casualty list. When the Italian army finally appears, the islanders show no resistance and the Italians do not bother them too much.

As a compromise for receiving regular medical supplies, Iannis agrees to allow one of the Italian captains to stay in his home. When Pelagia objects to Captain Antonio Corelli (Nicolas Cage) staying with them, he goes back to staying with his men, but soon returns to Iannis’ home. While not violent by nature, Corelli and his men haven’t experienced any action during the war and they seem content to fool around on the beach all day, singing to their hearts content whenever possible. While all this is going on, Pelagia plays hard to get with Corelli and they eventually fall for each other.

The situation becomes even more complicated when Mandras returns badly injured. Iannis treats his wounds but Mandras senses the spark has gone between himself and Pelagia. Mandras confesses that because he can’t read or write there was no way he could have replied to her. Now seeing that his purpose is to free Cephallonia and Greece from the occupation, he leaves Pelagia again. Mandras approaches Corelli with news that the Allies are about to invade Italy and the Germans, who are also on the island, will not let the Italians go home alive, so they should join forces before events get out of hand.

There have only been a few book adaptations worth talking about that have made great memorable movies. To the credit of the production team, the whole movie was filmed on the island and most of the buildings featured were built from scratch as nearly every building was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake. What seems to let the movie down is that Corelli comes across as a fun-loving buffoon and the way Pelagia falls for Corelli is not convincing enough. This is due more to the adaptation of the novel than to anyone’s performance. Then again, the accents are not too convincing either. This movie could be a disappointment to those who have read the novel and for those who haven’t read the novel, they might feel that something is missing!

During filming, Cage was hounded by the paparazzi at his hotel, so a yacht was hired out for him. Apparently even Madonna and Brad Pitt visited him during the shoot. Who would blame them for going either?

4 out of 6 stars