Review: Tristan & Isolde (2006)

Directed by: Kevin Reynolds | 120 minutes | action, drama, romance | Actors: James Franco, Sophia Myles, Rufus Sewell, David O’Hara, Henry Cavill, JB Blanc, Jamie King, Leo Gregory, Richard Dillane, Wolfgang Müller, Barbora Kodetová, Gordon Truefitt, Jack Montgomery, Marek Vasut, David Fisher, Bronwen Davies, Kevin Flood, Philip O’Sullivan, Nevin Finnegan, Jón Ólafsson, Winer Ave Zoli, Dexter Fletcher, Bronagh Gallagher, Tiffany Amber Knight, Todd Kramer, Thomas Morris, Isobel Scott Moynihan, Cheyenne Rushing, Lucy Russell, Thomas Sangster, Miroslav Simunek, Hans Martin Stier, Mark Strong, Myles Taylor, Ronan Vibert

What about the original medieval legend again? Tristan was an orphan who grew up under the care of King Mark of Cornwall and became the kingdom’s chief knight. When Mark asked his protégé to accompany his future bride from Ireland to her new homeland, the two mistakenly drank the love potion that this Isolde’s mother brewed for her daughter and Mark, resulting in an unbreakable but also impossible love between the faithful knight. and his queen. Sworn faithfulness, it is a concept that nowadays no longer seems to be sold to viewers. How do you imagine the conflict of loyalty between two lovers who cannot be together because they value this classical medieval value as much as love?

That doesn’t work (anymore) proves ‘Tristan + Isolde’ by Kevin Reynolds (‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’), based on one of the most famous love stories in world history. Certainly not when the supernatural motif, the love potion, is removed from the story: whatever beautiful pictures you show, no matter how well they are played, without this essence, the legend of Tristan and Isolde becomes a different story. a minor element of the legend is emphasized to make Tristan and Isolde fall in love under guiltless stars – see further the summary. With this change, the romance – especially when the essential figure Mark is pushed to the background – is stripped of its sting. The adaptation saves the rationale that extramarital love is justified, but where is Tristan’s despair for the betrayal and where is Isolde’s pride as queen? Tristan eventually chooses his own honor and Isolde is reduced to an adolescent wind child who only wants to see the passion; even in our day, worldly considerations are more important: road tragedy; if, therefore, the joint death does not materialize, with the intertwining branches on the graves of both lovers (which convinces Mark of the noble nature of their love, the moral of the original story) we must let go of the legend.

We’ll do that, however difficult it may be. The medieval setting is beautifully cared for in ‘Tristan + Isolde’ and the fighting is quite unromantic but successful. Breathtaking images of the Irish coast, where our ill-fated build their first love nest; beautiful actors too, who can make love very well. ‘Tristan + Isolde’ is an entertaining action film with a romantic character, with a convincing female lead and a Tristan that has some characteristics of Richard Gere; we can only say that it is an appealing whole. However, the source story’s bitter power is lacking.

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