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TRISTAN & ISOLDE

BY JEFFREY GANTZ
Stars graphics

125 MINUTES | FLAGSHIP + PROVIDENCE PLACE 16 + SHOWCASE

Everything you expect from a mainstream adaptation of an ancient legend is here: grand vistas, grand passions, mist and blood, brooding romantic score, PG-rated nude lovemaking, soap-opera plot and dialogue, ripoffs of everything from The Adventures of Robin Hood to Titanic and Shakespeare in Love, and anachronisms of which Isolde’s reading to Tristan from John Donne’s "The Good-Morrow" is hardly the worst. Director Kevin Reynolds (Waterworld) throws in a novel view of history: the Irish are tyrannizing England, and to keep the English barons at one another’s throats, Irish king Donnchadh (David Patrick O’Hara) offers his daughter Isolde (Sophia Myles) to the winner of a tournament, which is Tristan (James Franco) on behalf of his lord Marke (Rufus Sewell), except that Tristan and Isolde have already fallen in love, but after they’re caught and the island alliance of Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Picts, Brits, and the Loch Ness Monster is in danger of falling apart, he does the right thing and saves England before dying in Isolde’s arms. Myles has been taking notes from Kate Winslet and Helena Bonham Carter, and she does a passable imitation, but Franco and the rest are gloriously inert, and so is the film.


Issue Date: January 13 - 19, 2006
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