Christopher Columbus: hero, or villain paving the way for genocide? Scott straddles the quincentenary controversy, painting him as a rebellious sort who finds reality at variance with his dreams. The film covers 20 years, from his early efforts to raise backing to his ensuing triumphs and, ultimately, the disillusionment of seeing Eden turning into Hell. It was a shrewd move to cast Depardieu in the role: few actors could so skilfully reconcile the necessary qualities of enthusiasm, vulnerability and arrogance. As Queen Isabel, Weaver proves a good foil, while spectacular visuals convey the brutality and grandeur of the age. But in attempting to explore the man, Roselyne Bosch's script also embraces the myth, most obviously in some initial exchanges laden with significance. Vangelis' thunderous, intrusive score doesn't help; even more tedious is foppish villain Wincott, fashion victim and confirmed sadist.