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"Beltenebros" (1991) or "Prince of Shadows" is a neo-noir and rightly listed as such by critic John Grant. The story is filmed with fine dark and shadowy color cinematography throughout. Ponderous fatality overhangs the story thoroughly.
The protagonist is Terence Stamp. The time is 1962 and he is made to accept or strongly induced to undertake an assassination of someone who has been identified as an informant in a Spanish anti-fascist resistance operation back in 1946 Madrid. Several flashbacks reveal an earlier assassination that he did that was of a mis-identified man. He'd like to redeem himself.
Stamp's humorless character is very serious and determined. He intends to find his target through the man's girl friend, played by Patsy Kensit. If her acting had come up to the extraordinary presence that Stamp possesses, this picture would have been much better. She is asked to do a song and dance number, "Put the blame on Mame", and this only makes one pine for Rita Hayworth in the role. She breaks the spell of the photography and shadowy staging.
The story peters out as the movie begins to mature. It becomes quite difficult to sustain the 109 minute length. The story begins to fall apart, lacking in story subplots. Toward the end it goes for an exaggeration of its fascist antagonist, but this works.
This noir shouldn't be sloughed off. The photography and Stamp's capacity for creating tension alone make it more than worthwhile.
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