Far and Away (1992)
Tom's American Cruise
I am sure that writer Bob Dolman and director Ron Howard set out to make "Far and Away" as an epic romantic drama set at the tail end of the 19th century. But what they ended up with could be unintentionally one of the funniest movies ever made or at least for anyone who doesn't get swept up in the cinematography and the cast. I'm sorry but from Tom Cruise's Irish accent to the way the Irish act around each other to a scene where a man dies twice just to tell his son he is odd, this is a movie which in the end up makes me laugh again and again.
Now "Far and Away" is by no means a short movie, it runs to an impressive 140 minutes yet the storyline is unbelievably simple. It starts in Ireland in 1892 when the locals have had enough of landlords robbing them blind with high rents and when Joseph Donnelly's father dies and their home is burned down by the landlord's heavies over back rent young Joseph goes on a mission, when he is cheered off or is it mocked by the locals, to kill the landlord. Things don't go to plan and he ends up meeting the landlord's attractive daughter Shannon who has dreams of heading to America and they decide to head off together to start a new life. Despite an initial dislike of each other they soon fall in love but find life hard in American especially when Shannon's family come after them.
Now in fairness "Far and Away" does have all the bits which when put together could come together as the basis for an epic romantic adventure. But the whole story ends up so basic and forced that there is no class to it at all. It is why "Far and Away" ends up funny, more so than intended as there is plenty of comedy written into the movie, but everything about the story is comical. Come on, when they make it to America Joseph decides to earn a living as a bare knocked boxer which has no reason for being other than to have Tom Cruise in some fight scenes.
But the storyline is not the only issues as "Far and Away" has a lot more than just that as every single character seems to have been written as a comical cliche. From Joseph being a young Irish man who doesn't think things through to the snobbish young man who fancies Shannon and works for her father these are all comical characters. Throw on to that the hysterical accents which are more oirish than Irish and there is not a single character who doesn't make you laugh.
Of course none of that matters because what "Far and Away" was, was a vehicle for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman to star together. Do they look good, well yes, do they entertain, well yes and to be honest that was what it was about. But if this had been anyone else other than Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman it would be unbearable despite the supporting cast which features recognizable faces such as Robert Prosky and Colm Meaney.
Despite all of the above which basically when combined makes "Far and Away" a funny movie it has to be said it does have a good look. Whilst scenes of Joseph riding across the picturesque Irish land as the sun sets are forced they also look terrific. It is in truth the movies one redeeming quality and whilst I am not a fan of remakes I would love for someone to remake "Far and Away" one day and really make a dramatic movie rather than one which is funny and basically trying to create the same atmosphere as "The Quiet Man".
What this all boils down to is that I do find "Far and Away" entertaining but in truth they are mainly for the wrong reasons.
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