Publicity Stills of "Tristan & Isolde"
(Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

Genre: Romance/Drama
Director: Kevin Reynolds
Starring: James Franco, Sophia Myles, Rufus Sewell
RunTime: 2 hrs 6 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG

Opening Day : 6 April 2006

Synopsis :

This longtime dream project of executive producers Tony Scott and Ridley Scott explores the medieval legend of a princess and warrior’s love affair, which threatens to tear apart an uneasy peace between England and Ireland. A tale of epic battles, royal intrigue and a timeless, star-crossed passion.

Movie Review:

Everybody loves a good love story.

Think “Romeo and Juliet” and “Titanic”. They share a similar quality of having elements of conflicts, social class and family rivalry as well as tragic endings. These formulaic themes have been noted by Hollywood directors and have been recycled numerous times to up box-office sales. However, “Tristan and Isolde” is different. While retaining all the abovementioned elements of a love story fit for a romanticist, it also has elements of chivalry, betrayal and barbaric fights thrown in. “Tristan and Isolde” is thus not a unique creation, but it can be considered as a lovable film with elements of its predecessors present.

The film is set in a land of turmoil. The Irish army is building up its strength gradually with its eyes on England. However, instead of uniting to fight the invading Irish brutes, the tribes within England are fighting among themselves. And in the midst of this tussle, arises a couple whose relationship is never meant to be. It’s a doomed relationship that is separated by tribal feuds, a vast ocean and conflicting loyalties. And because of the various barriers to the reunion of the couple, this film is more emotional than brutal, more heart-wrenching than mere satisfying.

Used to playing Green Goblin’s son Harry Osborn, the audience might be surprised to see the male lead James Franco taking a turn for the better simply by being the adopted son of Lord Marke (Rufus Sewell), whose righteousness and judiciousness shines among his countryman. His performance in “Tristan + Isolde” is commendable, be it his remarkable swashbuckling skills in the fighting arena or his charismatic aura in the presence of his beloved Isolde (Sophia Myers). With a tinge of innocence and maturity, Sophia Myers’s performance is convincing as the lover torn between her love for Tristan and loyalty to her country. The chemistry between both leads does sizzle in the heat of passion and their love will have the audience glued to the seat, while the occasional doses of action do keep the audience engaged.

While it may be compared with films such as “Rob Roy” (1995), “Braveheart” (1995) and “Gladiator” (2000), “Tristan + Isolde” proves itself to be different from its counterparts by pushing romance to the fore while allowing the ongoing battles to settle as the backdrop. Seen in this light, “Troy” (2004) will be a better film to compare “Tristan + Isolde” with. Nevertheless, “Tristan + Isolde” has more credibility and is more believable. Be it battles scenes or romantic relationships, “Tristan + Isolde” has it all.

“Tristan + Isolde” has the ingredients to be a hit for fans of both genders. However, it is most suited for romanticists. With awe-provoking scenic visuals, alluring Irish soundtrack, glorious gladiator fights and a love that never dies, few films ever comes close to achieving such a connection with the audience.

Thus in the midst of chaos arises a never-ending love story. It questions the possibility of an everlasting love relationship during war and conflict but never really answers that. The enigma thus is the crucial question that sustains the film.

Movie Rating:

(“An appreciative tribute to ‘Romeo and Juliet’”)

Review by Patrick Tay

DISCLAIMER: Images, Textual, Copyrights and trademarks for the film and related entertainment properties mentioned
herein are held by their respective owners and are solely for the promotional purposes of said properties.
All other logo and design Copyright©2004-2006, movieXclusive.com™
All Rights Reserved.