movie film review | chris tookey

Cyrano De Bergerac

  Cyrano De Bergerac   Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
9.00 /10
Gerard Depardieu (LONDON CRITICS' CIRCLE AWARD - ACTOR OF THE YEAR), Anne Brochet , Vincent Perez
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Directed by: Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Written by: Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Jean-Claude Carriere from the play by Edmond Rostand

Released: 1990
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: France
Colour: C
Length: 138

Man with big nose (Gerard Depardieu, pictured left) is too shy to tell pretty girl he loves her, finally summons up courage to do so, drops dead. Pity.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Gerard Depardieu gives one of the great performances of all time. Depardieu definitively captures Cyrano's self-loathing, his pathos and, above all, his panache. Depardieu's masculinity is reminiscent of Olivier in his prime; his swashbuckling is on a par with Errol Flynn's; and he miraculously combines all this with the more modern, anti-heroic, screen subtlety of a de Niro. On a screen filled with distractions - beautiful scenery, wonderfully detailed costumes, thousands of extras - it is hard to take your eyes off him. Depardieu alone would makethe film worth seeing twice.

But as Roxane, the cousin who doesn't quite requite, Anne Brochet (pictured right) is a match for him. Even though the character might cruelly be summarised as an insensitive pseud infatuated with her illusions, she is still delightful: you can understand why Cyrano has fallen head-over-nose in love. The usually tedious role of Christian, Roxane's stupid paramour, is played with nobility by Vincent Perez. The villains have complexity and humanity. Even in the crowd scenes, everyone seems to know what he's doing.

The screenplay is (bravely) in verse, and a reminder of how elegant French can sound. Anthony Burgess's rhyming subtitles capture the meaning and spirit perfectly. Even the spelling mistakes in the subtitles (inexcusable in a film with such meticulous attention to detail in every other respect) are not too distracting.

This is a splendid, moving, lyrical romance, brilliantly filmed by director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, who also wrote the screenplay with Jean-Claude Carriere. It is not static, like so many adaptations of classic stage plays; the beauty of the lighting, the fluidity of the camerawork and the energy of the staging make it better than the best of Zeffirelli. It's a masterpiece, and on a scale which means that it should be enjoyed first on the big screen.

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