209. The English Patient (1996)

Film 77 in C4 Top 100 War Films

Canadian nurse Hana is looking after a badly burned pilot in an Italian field hospital. When the hospital is forced to move, Hana and her patient end up in a bombed out monastery, where she begins to find out more about the previously unidentified man.

Told in a series of flashbacks, he begins to explain how he ended up in such a terrible state; about the woman he fell in love with which ultimately lead to his accident. Meanwhile, Hana falls in love with bomb disposal expert Kip, and is joined in the monastery by an American intelligent officer, Caravaggio, who knows more about this English patient than is first apparent.

It’s grand, elegant and stunningly filmed on an epic scale. Beautiful to look at and with sublime performances from all the lead actors, it has obvious Oscar-winning quality. But at the same time, it feels even longer than it actually is. I wanted it to hurry along, rather than feeling swept up in the atmosphere of the exquisitely filmed scenes.


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