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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Far and Away (1992)
(2019 Reissue)


Starring: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 17 June 2019

In 1892, Irishman, Joseph Donnelly’s father dies, and his landlord burns down their home over some unpaid rent. Enraged at his treatment he tries to kill his landlord, only to injure himself. He is nursed back to life by Shannon, a headstrong woman who plans to escape the confines of her family. Together the couple journey to America in the hope of a better future...

Far and Away (1992. 2 hrs, 19 min, 59 sec) is an epic romantic drama, directed by Ron Howard, a director with such an impressive list of successful films that they are too long to list here. The film stars Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, with some nice supporting roles for the likes of Cyril Cusack, Jared Harris and Colm Meaney. The score was written by legendary John Williams.

On the plus side, the film is well directed with sumptuous cinematography, Kidman and Cruise do what they can with what they have been given, but the downside is what they have been given does not match the rest of the film. Mind you, there is a lot of accidental humour offered up with Cruises variable Irish accent.

So, Joseph and Shannon are a mismatched couple, him dirt poor, she a product of landed aristocracy. Its so obvious that they are going to end up together that the film's length can feel a bit of a drag getting to the point. Arriving in America, Shannon loses the silver spoons, which she intended to use to pay for her new life.

The pair are forced to hire rooms in a brothel, while Joseph makes money by bare fist boxing. Joseph getting the job comes about through a coincidence and coincidence is at the heart of the film.

The characters have almost no agency as events happen around and to them. The script allows their relationship to grow, but only up to a point and there is a lack of passion between them, which is odd as Cruise and Kidman were married at the time, but fail to show the passion which they were able to demonstrate in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

The Blu-ray looks stunning and even if you’re not particularly taken by the story there can be no doubt that the cinematography, by Mikael Salomon, is universally beautiful. This is best seen in the land rush at the end of the movie where hundreds race across the Oklahoma landscape. The only extra on the disc is the original trailer.

A better script would have elevated the film from what it ended up being, a beautiful but slightly vacuous experience.


Charles Packer

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