What a bizarre little film we have here. In the beginning it's incredibly slow, but towards the end this film is utterly compelling.
Based in Greece in the 1940s when the war was dominating every one's life, it focuses around the torment and torture that the Greeks, Italians and Germans had to face. We are given a love story, a friendship, a community and family life all surrounded by the chaos of the war.
With the dimensions of this storyline working very well together as one, and the acting produced from these very well established actors in the film (Penelope Cruz, Nicholas Cage, John Hurt and Christian Bale) makes quite a clever combination. It's just a shame it's so slow in the start.
The story becomes quite repetitive and predictable for a Hollywood ending. But even so, when you get into the last hour of the film, if you can manage it, you probably will find yourself being caught up in the relationships produced. You begin to feel for the characters, imagine the reality of the situations, and can really start to enjoy the film.
It is quite hard to keep up with the film in the beginning. It's a very bitty storyline to start off with, and doesn't particularly have any interesting qualities. You don't really know what the film is going to be about, and you aren't set off with any memorable signs for the rest of the film. Saying that, once Nicholas Cage is brought into the film, and you begin to lose any appeal towards Christian Bale, the film picks up.
And with the added setting of a Greek island being irresistible to the eye, and the brilliant acting produced from all the cast means that even though it's not the greatest film ever created, it's by no means one of the worst. It becomes compelling and exciting, dramatic and aggressive, passionate and romantic all throughout. With these mixture of emotions, it really does take you through a roller coaster ride of emotions that mesh very well together.
It's pretty brutal in a couple of scenes when the war is the most predominant storyline. You see graphic murders and torture scenes which is good in someways, because it shows the truth of the situation, rather than glamorising it. But just be prepared to be shocked purely on the fact that you're taken from one emotion to another.
So, if you can bear to be put through an hour and a half of an almost never ending story, for a very good one hour finish then sit with it. It's worth it in the long run.