Watched Tristan & Isolde last night, which I was surprised to find myself liking. I’m actually not a huge fan of the Arthurian legends. I like the era–knights in armor, damsels in distress, chivalry and sword fights etc.–but the foundation stories don’t excite me; they’re too downer-heavy. I guess I’ve got a pretty limited appetite for tragic and unrequited love. Also, the base “Tristan and Isolde” story is way disjointed–two, maybe three Isoldes, a love potion, Tristan perpetually being poisoned, and I think there’s a dragon or something in there to boot–but Hollywood did a good job pulling it together, paring off all the superfluous characters and side intrigues.
I’ve been a fan of Rufus Sewell since I first saw him in Dangerous Beauty, one of my all-time favorite movies (Veronica Franco is my hero), and then Dark City. I thought he was perfect in the role of Lord Marke, plus he’s way hawt, which ramped up my sympathy for the character and made the love triangle that much more tragic. I was less impressed with the actor who played Tristan. I think the role was too much for him; he didn’t have the range to pull off tormented, and so mostly came across as sullen and petulant. However, to make up for that shortcoming, Thomas Sangster, the child actor who played Young Tristan, was fantastic (he also appeared in Love Actually as Sam, Liam Neeson’s son). That kid’s got excellent screen presence, not to mention with his gymnastics background, he was pretty damn impressive in the fight scene he did. If the world is fair, he’s got a solid career in front of him. He looks way younger than he is, though. IMDB says he was born in 1990, and I would never have pegged him as 14/15 in T&I.
And I haven’t even touched upon how lushly beautiful the movie was. Shot on location in Ireland and the Czech Republic, the sets and cinematography were breathtaking.
A surprisingly satisfying movie-watching experience, all-in-all.
– 100 on the Swan Lake tale. Wah! The story’s there, but the words aren’t coming. Bludgeoning of muse scheduled for later.
– 900 on freelance work. Ho hum.
– 10-day pleasant pass from Aeon: “a clever tale, and a well-written one . . . Still . . .” with a “We look forward to seeing another from you soon” consolation prize.