I have a brand new impression. I am not what you would call a mimic, yet it struck me that along with my screwed up Old Man Steptoe face, I could also do a fair to passable caricature of Renne Zellweger in Cold Mountain. It is rather simple, blow your cheeks in and out, squint a bit , slap your thigh and say something like “Gosh darn it, my pappie sold me for a jog of ale when I was ten, and you don’t see me a hootin’ and a hollerin’ about it”. It helps obviously if you have a tall ginger bird as a mate who can act as if this is normal behaviour.

Cold Mountain is deathly dull until Zellweger turns up. Hers is a comic turn par exellence, which might be a problem since i am not completely convinced that it is supposed to be. Certainly whilst Kidman and Law are trying to express the longing that their seperation is forcing upon them the whole thing is deathly dull. And then in stomps Zellweger’s Ruby Tuesday (RubyThewes to be precise but this film does not do precise) who puts paid to this self indulgent nonsense. Equally on Jude Law’s side of the story Phillip Seymour Hoffman attempt to nick the film. Only for a succession of special guest stars to wrestle with him for that honour. Oh look, that’s Ray Winstone under a beard, isn’t that Nathalie Portman there, Brendan Gleeson if I live and breathe, Jack White well I do declare, even Cillian Murphy gets a minute in. Its like Its A Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World, but with better gags.

Cold Mountain is trying so hard to be meaningful that it becomes almost a parody. It is sumptuously made but is stitched together out of set pieces which are more comedy sketches than anything else. Law and Kidman have the responsibility of making us care, unfortunately it is much more interesting watching Zellweger puffing her cheeks in and out like a gurner. And it is slightly difficult to take seriously a film where the romantic lead is called Inman. Isn’t it Mrs Slocomb.