Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
For its first 90 minutes, this gorgeous-looking, slow-drip love story meanders on a Greek island against the backdrop of World War II. At roughly the same time the bombs begin to drop in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor, this distilled version of Louis de Bernieres’s 1992 novel shifts from romantic triangle to the terror and brutality of war. It’s Mediterraneo (Italian soldiers living la dolce vita in 1941 on a Greek isle) crossed with The English Patient (wounds of love and combat festering circa World War II). Missing in action are the previous films’ bittersweet magnetism and gnawing emotional tension as the daughter (Penelope Cruz) of the island’s doctor (John Hurt) falls out of love with a local fisherman (Christian Bale) and into the arms of an Italian solider (Nicolas Cage). Directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love).