Not much is known about the real Cyrano de Bergerac besides the fact that he was a playwright, novelist, and duelist who lived in the first half of the seventeenth century. Many have speculated about his sexuality and the circumstances surrounding his death. It has even been hypothesized that he assisted a young man who was better looking yet not as mentally sharp as him to woo a maiden Cyrano secretly loved.
Two hundred and fifty years after Cyrano's death, French poet, Edmond Rostand, took the concept and created a play entitled Cyrano de Bergerac. The play has since been adapted into an opera and several films. The latest version, Cyrano (Peter Dinklage; Game of Thrones), is available now on Blu-ray.
Cyrano and Roxanne (Haley Bennett; The Magnificent Seven) have been friends since childhood. Roxanne, a penniless orphan, attends the theater with Duke De Quiche (Ben Mendelssohn; Ready Player One), who loves her and who wants to marry her. However, once she locks eyes with Christian (Kelvin Harrison Jr.; Waves) she falls madly in love with him. Cyrano, having met Christian, realizes he is unable to express his thoughts and feelings in an eloquent manner and begins writing letters to Roxanne, which Christian delivers as if they were his own words.
When Roxanne finally meets Christian, he is unable to speak to her in the same manner as in his writings and she is disappointed. However, upon learning that De Quiche plans to marry Roxanne, she and Christian secretly wed. When De Quiche finds out, he sends Christian and Cyrano to war and then on what amounts to a suicide mission. Before they leave Cyrano reveals he has been writing letters to Roxanne as Christian at which point Christian realizes Cyrano is in love with Roxanne. Christian is fatally shot and Cyrano is wounded but returns home, and after a few years' time, confesses his love for Roxanne.
While the story of Cyrano and Roxanne has been retold in various forms over hundreds of years, this particular version is based on Erics Schmidt's musical. While casting Dinklage was inspired, it wasn't done by happenstance as Schmidt has been married to Dinklage for over fifteen years. Bennett was also an excellent choice to play the beautiful and beguiling Roxanne and she steals many of the scenes she is in. Though Harrison, Jr. may be the weakest link in the trio, he manages to hold his own opposite these two powerhouses.
The combo pack offers a Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and digital download. Of course, the Blu-ray offers the best video presentation with 1080p resolution and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The video quality makes director Joe Wright's (Atonement) visuals even more stunning than they might otherwise be and the details are so sharp and clean that the magnificent costumes seem as if they are in a museum display. Equally as strong, if not stronger, is the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. The musical numbers are layered and offer incredible orchestration while the ambient noise gives the film a fully immersive feel. Sadly, there is only one 9-minute long extra - An Epic Adventure: The Making of Cyrano, and, while it is well done, it leaves the viewer wanting more.
With a well-written screenplay and some beautifully shot scenes, Cyrano is a wonderful adaptation of the classic tale. It keeps the viewer interested and entertained from beginning to end while maintaining excellent technical quality. It would not surprise me if high school teachers started assigning this movie as part of their curriculum for their classes.