From the opening scene of a plane flying low over the Sahara to the depiction of violence and war, "The English Patient" sweeps you up and captures your heart.
It's the end of the Second World War in Italy and Hana (Binoche), an exhausted, emotionally scarred young nurse, decides to care for her dying patient through the end of his days at an abandoned monastery. Suffering from amnesia, the patient's memory is jogged by a battered copy of Herodotos found with him, and by the arrival of an allied spy (Dafoe), who appears to know who he is. Slowly the pieces of his pre-war past come together, and the tragic love story of Count Almasy and Katherine Clifton unfolds.
Each member of the exemplary cast turns in a skilled performance, not least Binoche, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and Fiennes as the patient himself. Minghella (who won Best Director) manages to seamlessly weave together the splintered stories of desert adventure, doomed love, and a war torn country, while maintaining an interest in each character.
Every scene is photographed with a beautiful sensitivity, especially the aerial views, which are breathtaking and some images will truly stand the test of cinematic time. Winner of nine Oscars in all, the film should be seen several times. On each viewing, more detail is obvious, more emotion palpable, and a genuine feeling towards the characters comes through.
A must see film for all lovers of cinema on a grand and sweeping scale.