Anthony Minghella's lauded romantic epic comes to the small screen starring Ralph Fiennes as the scholarly Hungarian explorer Count Laszlo de Almasy. After being badly burned in a plane crash, Almasy lies in a bombed villa under the care of an army nurse, the dreamy Hana (Binoche), and reminisces over his affair with Katherine (Kristin Scott-Thomas). Though he remembers their affair as utterly spiritual, it never really flourishes in the viewers' eyes since their assignations are restrained by clipped dialogue and hurried sex. They manage to break the tension by continually changing their mind about whether or not they can be together. We know they are doomed and we gradually cease to care. Their romance is paralleled by a far more interesting liaison between Hana and a Sikh bomb-disposal expert, but Minghella sadly skimps on the details of their story. At times resembling something between Lawrence of Arabia and a Camel cigarettes advert, the film offers sweeping visions of the desert which, though impressive, do not make up for the turgidity of our hero and heroine.
Courage Under Fire (15) Fox, retail, 22 September pounds 12.99
Fresh from the Gulf War, Lt Colonel Nathan Sterling (Denzel Washington) is assigned to examine the Medal of Honour candidates. One of the nominees, Karen Walden (Meg Ryan) was killed while overseeing a rescue mission and Sterling must piece together the events leading to her death. The film scratches the surface of some touchy subjects, but never stays in one place long enough to attain any real depth.
Jack (PG) Buena Vista, retail, 22 September pounds 12.99.
In a story that we have already seen in Big, Robin Williams plays a 10- year-old boy afflicted by an accelerated ageing process, leaving him with the body of a 40-year-old man. It is a tragedy that Frances Ford Coppola, the man who directed such timeless classics as Apocalypse Now and The Godfather, is capable of such puerile clap-trap.