Starring Nicolas Cage, Penelope Cruz, John Hurt Director John Madden Category IIB The most stunning thing about director John Madden's take on Captain Corelli's Mandolin is Nicolas Cage's accent. Once it sinks in, it takes control and then won't let you go. Marvel in amazement as it magically appears and then disappears - sometimes in the same sentence. In fact, Captain Corelli's Mandolin becomes somewhat of a duel between Cage's Italiana, John Hurt's Zorba-like Greek, and English actor David Morrissey's heavy-handed German. Why film-makers persistently compel actors to make ridiculous attempts at 'foreign' English is a mystery, and here is a great example of where it all goes wrong. Only Penelope Cruz's Spanish-Greek-English combination scrubs up pretty well and that's probably because she scrubs up pretty well herself, so you don't really care. But what of the film itself? Well, lovers of Louis de Bernieres' massively successful novel won't find it completely satisfying. But books rarely make a smooth transition to the screen. And those untouched by the novel will find it a competent, if hardly riveting, love story with some decent action thrown in at the end. Cage stars as Captain Corelli, the mandolin-playing Italian soldier who finds himself serving with the Germans on the Greek island of Cephallonia during World War II. He falls for local lass Pelagia (Cruz) who, in turn, has promised herself to local fisherman-turned-partisan Mandras (Christian Bale). The problem with these two relationships is that Pelagia always seems more attached to her wicker baskets and dainty frocks than she does to her two men. So it comes as some surprise when she quickly throws it all away for a roll on the road with Corelli. That these characters are given even less depth than their accents doesn't help, and it is only Hurt's strong effort as Pelagia's father that adds any weight to proceedings. But once the Germans turn nasty things get a lot more dramatic as the Italians finally stop singing and dancing and do a bit of fighting. Thus the film's last 45 minutes (it runs for 127) save it from being a complete disaster. Perhaps we are supposed to admire Madden and the Miramax studio for tackling such an immensely popular tale in the first place, but the reality is they have produced a film that is, as Cage might say, not-a so good-a. Captain Corelli's Mandolin opens on October 18.