World War Two comes to an idyllic Greek island in the form of an Italian army captain (Nicolas Cage) and his men.
How the ebullient Cage charms his way into the lives of local woman Penélope Cruz and her wise doctor dad (John Hurt) is one side of this seductive tale. The other is the heart-breaking sequence of events that tears all their lives apart.
As ever, subtlety isn’t Cage’s strong point, but it’s hard not to warm to his thick-accented performance, and Cruz and Hurt also hit all the right emotional notes.
Some well-edited battle scenes and Christian Bale going off to fight bring the harsher realities of war to the story but, overall, this is a luxurious wallow in wistful, long-ago days.
And, though it’s not entirely faithful to Louis de Bernières’ best-selling novel, it does deliver top-quality movie escapism.