ReviewWriter: Lavonne CheahWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects:
NACinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"Queen Margot", "2046", "Shakespeare In Love"
Set in 1922, "Brides" follows the voyage of mail-order brides who are travelling from various parts of Greece, Turkey, Russia, and Armenia to Chicago in the United States. On board the SS King Alexander is photojournalist Norman Harris (Lewis) who is frustrated and despondent after his latest wartime photographs were rejected. First Class passenger Norman becomes fascinated with the brides travelling in Third Class and after taking the captain's portrait, he decides to take shots of the brides, all 700 of them.
One bride who captures Norman's fancy is seamstress Niki (Haralabidou) and they start a relationship during the voyage. This culminates in a heart-rending decision when they arrive in America.
There are also sub-plots involving some of the brides and their escorts, including the slimy pimp Karaboulat (the villainous Steven Berkoff) and Russian Miss Kardaki (Iglessi), as well as involvement by the ship's Captain Marinos (Katalifos) and first-class passenger and fortune-teller Emine (Ferreol).
"Brides" is an epic and emotional movie that pays attention to details. From the early shots in Turkey, the costumes, and the ships various quarters, we get the feeling of the sets and action being filmed in 1922. This gives "Brides" an atmosphere that is moody and sensous and very reminiscent of the era. The shots of the brides are hauntingly beautiful, as their excitement mounts with each passing day. The photos remind me of those in "The Others", they get you and you can't seem to shake the images from your mind.
The developing relationship between Norman and Niki is at times intense and yet restrained as they both struggle to deal with their own dilemmas - Niki is determined to maintain her family's honour, while Norman just wants to run away with Niki even though he is supposed to be returning to his wife in Detroit.
Both Lewis and Haralabidou are just superb at giving their roles the necessary nuances. "Brides" is a captivating film and it keeps you wanting for more.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008