Tristan + Isolde (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Tristan + Isolde recounts ye olde legend of an English prince (James Franco) and an Irish princess (Sophia Myles) who fall in love, inconveniently, on the eve of her wedding to his stepfather (Rufus Sewell). It's directed by the man who made Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, but don't count on any of that blockbuster's heartily daft, mullet-headed swashbuckling. Instead, it follows in the hoofprints of 2004's subdued, man-behind-the-myth film, King Arthur, so there are no magic spells, no love potions, and no levity of any kind, except when the script accidentally includes a whoppingly anachronistic phrase - "I might just go and have a lie down," being my favourite.

Putting the "dark" into the Dark Ages, it's a swamp of greens and browns, mud and moss, and more shaggy beards than a Camra convention. Unfortunately, the story's as muddy as the colour scheme. It's about two star-crossed lovers who can't resist each other, except sometimes when they can, and whose love may have calamitous ramifications, but may have none at all.

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