Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Film Review: Ladyhawke

1985’s “Ladyhawke” is a well-acted, unabashedly romantic medieval fairy-tale. Rutger Hauer (of “Blade Runner”) and Michelle Pfeifer (of “White Oleander” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys”) star as two lovers separated by a curse placed upon them by an evil bishop. The story begins as wily thief “Mouse” (played by film and Broadway veteran Matthew Broderick) crosses paths with intrepid knight Navarre and quickly finds himself entangled in Navarre’s quest to find a way to end the spell that causes Navarre to take the form of a wolf by night while his beloved Isabeau is trapped in the body of a falcon by day. The curse is a cruel enchantment that allows the two lovers only brief glimpses of each other as they shape shift into their animal counterparts each day. Despite strong elements of fantasy in the plot, “Ladyhawke” contains a strong emotional core. By the time Navarre and Isabeau are finally able to confront the evil bishop side by side in their human form, we share their triumph because we’ve shared their journey and witnessed the torment and danger they’ve faced. The dialogue is witty, the action is well-choreographed, and the poignant characters and satisfying ending will appeal to viewers who enjoyed such films as “Ever After” and “A Knight’s Tale.” Fans who enjoyed Rutger Hauer in the medieval setting of “Ladyhawke” might also enjoy the adult-themed “Flesh and Blood.”

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