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St. Ives / All For Love

DVD Two Stars
I saw the cover and blurb for this film and I was seriously concerned that this was another costume drama that just drags out the unrequited or unspoken love issue for a few hours and makes for a very painful story. As you can guess, I really don't enjoy that kind of flat plotted and procrastinated film.

However watching the first few minutes of St. Ives, otherwise known as All For Love, revealed something different. Humour, sarcasm, pathos, and a feeling akin to the musketeer films of old.

StIves.jpgBy no means is this a spectacular film, but it certainly is not the poor costume drama I was expecting. There's a strong cast, a positive script that has some good dialogue to work with and some amusing scenes.

This is definitely in the mould of the Musketeer films rather than a costume drama, there's comedy and pathos mixed with the setting of the Napoleonic wars with England battling France. You'll soon forget the costumes, enjoy a few laughs and some good entertainment.

The story comes from Robert Louis Stevenson and tells of a French Army Captain, Jacques de Keroual de Saint Ives who is sent to a Scottish prison during the Napoleonic wars in 1813. While there both he and the camp commander fall for a local woman and Jacques is determined to escape and win her over.

The commander wants to use his knowledge of seducing women to help him win over the woman for himself, but she's already fallen for the Frenchman, and to complicate matters it just so happens that the prisoner's family line reside in Scotland. So when he does escape from his shackles his father tries to take him back into the family, but the younger brother resents his return and sees the family inheritance sliding away from him.

You can see that there's plenty of drama in there already, but what you're going to be surprised about is the constant level of comedy, and not the slapstick or body humour kind, but a rather well scripted kind that gives for constant amusement and some laugh out loud moments.

The cast includes Jean-Marc Barr, Anna Friel, Miranda Richardson, Richard E. Grant and Jason Isaacs, already a good line up, and a somewhat surprisingly strong one.

Yes there's a lot reminiscent of those old musketeer films, but this does lack a level of polish and finesse that doesn't quite make it to that level, and while the characters are interesting, you never quite give the emotional attachment that they need in order to become something more than the light entertainment they are.

The picture is not bad although it is obviously an older film and looks a little grainy.

Audio.pngDolby Digital 2.0
Like the picture the audio track is befitting of the film's age with a stereo offering only.

Overall.pngWhile this does remind you of those great Musketeer films there's just not enough to hook the audience into the characters and really make an emotional attachment with them. However without that there is still some good entertainment to be had as well as some fun performances from very well known British actors. However it does have a disappointing DVD release with the very basic offerings.

Buy or Rent from LOVEFiLM
Buy from Play.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
Search for All For Love on Filmstalker stores
UK IMDB Film Details



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Movable Type 3.34