Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
United Kingdom/Germany/Italy/Republic of Macedonia, 2001. Alta Films, British Screen Productions, British Sky Broadcasting, Fandango, Film Consortium, Film Council, Highlight Communications, History Dreams, Medusa Film, National Lottery, Shadow Films, South Fork Pictures, The Film Consortium, The Paranoid Celluloid Co. Ltd., ena Film GmbH. Screenplay by Milcho Manchevski. Cinematography by Barry Ackroyd. Produced by Chris Auty, Vesna Jovanoska, Domenico Procacci. Music by Kiril Dzajkovski. Production Design by David Munns. Costume Design by Ane Crabtree, Anne Jendritzko, Meta Sever. Film Editing by Nicolas Gaster.
A thief breaks into the dilapidated apartment of an old woman (Rosemary Murphy) but gets more than he bargained for when she shoots him and then breaks his nose. Holding him hostage, she begins to spin a tall tale of the wild west about two Texas brothers (Joseph Fiennes, David Wenham) who fall in love with one woman (Anne Brochet) and are torn apart when Fiennes marries her. Wenham catches news of the revolution in Macedonia against Turkish rule, and travels there in the hopes of making money as a mercenary gun-for-hire and to forget Brochet; his connection to the events happening there end up appealing to more than just his greed or sentimentality. Murphy does a terrific job steering the entire film through her memories, but the flashback scenes aren’t quite interesting enough and rely too heavily on countless battle sequences that have no emotional resonance. Brochet is underused, while Fiennes (a Brit) and Wenham (an Australian, and one of the best actors on screen) both go over the top with their accents and end up sounding like characters from a Lucky Luke cartoon (which may have been the point, but one is never quite sure). This politically motivated, but emotionally confused film is Milcho Manchevski’s follow-up to his Academy Award nominated film Before The Rain.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2001