Cold Mountain is one of the last and greatest feature films made by the incredible filmmaker Anthony Minghella. He scripted the film based upon the novel by author Charles Frazier and directed the mammoth production. The story begins and ultimately focuses upon a romance between Inman (Jude Law) and Ada Monroe (Nicole Kidman), two lovers who become apart upon the entrance of Inman into the American Civil War. Both characters must struggle for survival and have to endure their separation until a time when their hope can be answered and rewarded.
The novel was a huge success and the
idea of an
adaption was surely daunting for everyone involved. This only
makes it all the
more incredible and special that the final product wound up
being as well-made
and engaging as it is. The performances had a huge role in the
reception and it is really unsurprising when one considers the
cast, which included Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée
Zellweger, Natalie Portman, Philip
Seymour Hoffman, Brendan Gleeson, Giovanni Ribisi, and Donald
an amazing cast for anyone to work with and in having so many
together on this one project Minghella was able to craft a
superb work of art. Every
element seems woven together with genuine wonderment. Of
particular note was the brilliant Academy-Award winning
performance by Zellweger.
The role is easily one of the highlights of her wonderful
The cinematography worked well with the direction. The landscape shots capture a feeling of the time and place in a historical context that feels authentic while also being artistic and grounded in the great traditions of the best Hollywood filmmaking there is to offer viewers. Minghella has superb visual sensibilities and tends to bring out emotional honesty from the actors he chooses to work with and his cinematographer John Seale captures the moments with precision. The collaboration between these two artists was vital to the success of Cold Mountain, which was one of the most ambitious productions that Minghella ever worked on.
This does seem to
be almost entirely the "Minghella"
show in some ways. The collaborations were aplenty, make no
mistake... but with
the screenplay, direction, and clear care over the success of
this feature it
is unmistakably the work of someone striving for greatness and
in the quest
actually finding it. This is my favorite film by the filmmaker
and it is one
that will stay with me throughout the years as a superb
story is ultimately all about the strength of the human spirit
and there was no
finer choice of filmmaker to help capture the importance of this
romantic piece of solid sweeping storytelling.
Lionsgate presented this Miramax film with a High Definition transfer preserving its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. The image is in 1080p. The good news is that this release offers a dramatic improvement over the previous DVD edition (which wasn't a quality release even by the PQ standards of the DVD format). The image on this Blu-ray is consistently impressive but not consistently flawless as a presentation. There are moments during the film where the presentation is so sharp, vivid, and involving that the mountains, landscapes, and lush cinematography significantly enhances the overall appreciation of the film's incredible artistry. Then there are scenes where the image just seems a tad too soft and underwhelming. This Blu-ray release has mixed results but everything sways towards the positive more. This isn't a perfect presentation of Cold Mountain but it's likely the best that will be seen for quite some time and it should be pleasing for fans anticipating a solid upgrade.
The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentation is a notable one and it offers the best way to experience the beautiful score by composer Gabriel Yared. This magnificent score accompanies the film's stunning cinematography in such a wonderful way - most will be transported by the music sounding as serene as it sounds with this lossless audio mix. It isn't the only aspect of the new DTS-HD-MA audio to benefit though: the surrounds have been well used and add depth to an enveloping sound mix.
Subtitles are provided in English, Spanish, and English (SDH) for the deaf and hard of hearing.
There are so many
bonus materials on this release.
The release is packed with informative behind-the-scenes
features and has one
particularly worthwhile special that features music from the
film in concert
setting style. The only drawback to these inclusions is that
here is new to this Blu-ray release and everything is presented
Audio Commentary with Screenwriter/Director Anthony Minghella and Editor Walter Murch
Cold Mountain Documentary
(1:14:06) is an engaging documentary
that examines the making of the film. There are several segments
different areas related to the production (such as writing,
filming, music, and
promotion). There are a significant number of interviews with
the cast, crew, filmmakers
less detailed information about
the overall production, which some fans might be hoping to
learn, but there is
still a plethora of worthy aspects to this interesting feature
and it shouldn't
be overlooked by anyone hoping to gain some added insight into Cold Mountain's
Scenes (20:59) are
presented letterboxed and with time-marks.
There are 11 deleted sequences in total contained here.
Words and Music of Cold Mountain - Royce Hall Special (1:33:06) is going
to amaze any fan of the film that walked away from
the experience with a love for the music. This well-produced
special has an
introduction by producer Sydney Pollack and an interview with
- along with several musical performances of the Sacred Harp
music and more
traditional songs featured in the film.
Journey to Cold Mountain
(29:41) is a shorter Miramax
Television Special that also covers aspects of the making of the
contains the typical amount of film clips and interview
(4:09) is a brief background on one of the most beautiful
choral music forms out there and this piece discusses its
history and relevance
within the film.
are included for three scenes.
(11:55) are presented in AVC HD for other Lionsgate/Miramax
Cold Mountain was
one of the best films of 2003. The performances
are stellar, the script told a wonderful story through a
and the direction made the film a beautiful and ambitious
accomplishment. The Blu-ray release is a worthwhile addition to
any fan's library with a solid presentation and plentiful