Movie Review: 'The Horseman on the Roof'

by VNN Staff

6 September 2005

1995/Miramax Zoe/starring Olivier Martinez and Juliette Binoche

This movie is set in France in the 1830s during a cholera epidemic. The dialogue is in French with English subtitles.

A young military officer (played by Martinez) on the run from political opponents is thrown together quite by accident with a Frenchwoman (Binoche). Soon, the French town that the duo occupies is evacuated due to the epidemic, and they end up fending for themselves as they journey across the country.

Then comes plenty of drama and danger, as the pair encounters different types of trouble at various points in the film.

As you might guess, there are no racial minorities in the film -- at least, we don't recall seeing any among the cast or among the many extras, who sometimes number in the hundreds.

The cinematography, acting, directing, music and scenery in this movie are wonderful, and it is safe to say that this is one of the better movies to premier in the past 20 years. Really.

Although one senses that Martinez's character may be left-wing, politically speaking, there really is no proof of that in the film, and that doesn't mar the movie anyway due to the time period the film is set in (that's merely a minor observation for those who read politics in every movie they watch).

Of note is how gentlemanly the young officer is in this film. Men like that are hard to find these days. Young people, take a lesson from that character.

"The Horseman on the Roof" is first-rate entertainment and is recommended without any reservations. In fact, you will probably want to watch it more than once.


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