|Mountains of the Moon/B,C+|
| Mountains of the Moon is the story of
explorers Burton and Speke and the hunt for the source of the Nile. After a spectacular
opening the film winds down to a droning pace. Too bad. So many good elements. Big story.
Great character in Burton with a fine performance from Patrick Bergin. I think director
Bob Rafelson was too restrained in playing down the dramatic potential of this story. Even
the actual discovery of the source of the Nile, Lake Victoria, if you could call it a
discovery, is played down. But through it all the film often has the power to mesmerize a
viewer. African landscapes framed by sunsets with safaris wending their way over
mountainous terrain is a no brainer for a cinematographer.
Rafelson mixes many
fine details into this spirited brew. This was Rafelson's baby. He based the script on the
journals of Sir Richard Burton. I guess he's just too referential to the material. The
casting is outstanding. Whatever happened to the star that should have belonged to Patrick
Bergin. The man does command the screen. He's very charismatic and brings off the
adventurous spirit of Burton with flying colors. Iain Glen does a credible job as Speke,
but his character has less flamboyance and it shows in the performance. Fiona Shaw brings
great spirit to the role of Burton's bride. Why is that so many English actresses look so
natural in their surroundings? The little imperfections, like teeth that look natural, or
hips slightly broad.