Monday, August 6, 2007

Tristan + Isolde...atop the round table

Tristan + Isolde - Kevin Reynolds - 2006 - 9/10


The story that many say influenced Arthurian lore begins in the early Dark Ages, shortly after the end of Pax Romana where a weak Britain is mired in war as several clans jockey for control. The "good" one the movie focuses on, is Marke (Rufus Sewell), who tries to unite the country and defeat the rampaging Irish army led by their ferocious general, Morholt (Graham Mullins).
On one of these raids Morholt destroys the British, taking many slaves, and killing the parents of Tristan (James Franco), a young boy who Marke saves, although he loses his hand in the process. Years pass and Tristan grows into a great fighter who finally meets Morholt in battle. Although Tristan kills Morholt, Morholt's sword delivers a powerful blow that posions Tristan. Believing he is dead, Tristan's friends and fellow soldiers launch his funeral boat into the tide. The ship washes up on the shores of Ireland, where it is discovered by Isolde (Sophia Myles) who cares for the wounded Tristan. Isolde tells Tristan another name instead of her own, fearing he will realize she is the princess of Ireland. The two slowly fall ddeeply in love, but Tristan is forced to flee when his boat washes ashore. King Donnchadh (David O'Hara) decides that he will hold a contest for the hand of his daughter, Isolde, for whoever can win her - in an attempt to create a false peace with the British tribes. Each tribal leader sends a champion in their stead, and Tristan begs to go, hoping to see his love, unbeknownst to him that his love is the woman he will be winning for Marke.


I loved this movie. I'm a sucker for action movies with good love stories, but this movie is advertised as the greatest love story of all time - and then the movie crams in a bunch of really good action scenes. And Franco shows us how he learned to act between Spiderman and Spiderman 3 - by making real movies instead of slacking like Tobey. Sophia Myles is great too - playing her role perfectly as a woman who is torn by the passion she feels for Tristan and the respect she has for Marke. Just as Tristan is distraught by the choice he has to make - loving Isolde or fulfilling his duty to Marke. Rufus Sewell turns in a great performance as Marke, creating compassion for a face I associate with the evil Armand from A Knight's Tale. Woven into the love story is more than just good fight scenes - there is also a bunch of great history and folklore here that sets the movie apart from just another love story. Things are realistic too - from Tristan and Isolde's love to the fight scenes, to the characters - and I'm left with a big smile on my face at the end of the movie, despite the somewhat bittersweet ending.


See it now!

If you liked this movie, see...
...King Arthur
...Kingdom of Heaven

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites Add to Technorati Favorites Blog Listings