starring Heath Ledger, Wes Bentley, Kate Hudson, Djimon Hounsou
screenplay by Michael Schiffer and Hossein Amini, based on the novel by A.E.W. Mason
directed by Shekhar Kapur
by Walter Chaw An old-fashioned epic of the type only Bombay attempts anymore, The Four Feathers (directed by a Bollywood ex-pat, natch: Shekhar Kapur)--the fifth film version of A.E.W. Mason's turn-of-the-century, Count of Monte Cristo-flavoured tale of valour, redemption, and derring-do--is indicated by a feather-lightness at its heart that undermines the sweeping, operatic pretensions of the piece. The picture just doesn't possess the kind of gravity that would hold together its broad strokes and gaping panoramas; all that remains is youngsters playing at dress-up, Kate Hudson cycling through both of her expressions, and one war set-piece that is very simply breathtaking while succumbing to nearly every "arrogant officer folds, religious soldier freaks, valiant soldier tragically wounded" cliché in the travel-worn war-movie book.