It's going to get all kinds of buzz, probably a lot of Oscar mentions, up to and inevitably Best Picture. But it's The English Patient all over again, with the same annoying dissatisfying ending that leaves you feeling somehow cheated.
Nicole Kidman proves she can act without a prosthetic nose. Jude Law...he doesn't say a lot, but he's onscreen a lot and he seems very noble. Renée Zellweger deserves an Oscar for this one; she's the best thing in it, and just when things get too heavy and pontificating gleefully punctures the mood with a sharp shiny pin. She's brilliant. And she can get her point across with just a look. Incredible.
And there's this great backup cast, too -- great actors who are only on for a few scenes. Donald Sutherland. Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Kathy Baker. Natalie Portman. Giovanni Ribisi. Lucas Black (the boy in Swing Blade). Jack White (Yes. The White Stripes Jack White).
Still, after 2-1/2 hours of Homeric adventure, there's an overwhelming feeling of "well, there's 2-1/2 hours of my life I'll never get back," and you wonder why you bothered.
Because Anthony Minghella ouevres, much like Shakespeare once said, "are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."