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Benito González works construction in Melilla and dreams big - of building the tallest building in Benidorm, a great phallic symbol of power, González Towers. Over several years, we see Benito's rise and fall, much like the construction of his tower. Through force of personality, he puts the financing together, taking advantage of women who love him - Claudia, a model who wants to be a star, and Marta, the US educated daughter of a banker whose loan Benito needs. Can his force of personality - his huevos de oro - compensate for shoddy building materials, no permits, and undercapitalization? Nature may have her own power and surprises in store for Benito. Written by
HUEVOS DE ORO (Golden Balls) is a 1993 film by writer/director JJ Bigas Luna (best known for his 'Jamon, Jamon' and 'Son de Mar') that suffers from defective promo/packaging. The cover of the DVD (probably released only of late because of Javier Bardem's growing popularity in this country) suggests an edgy comedy: Bardem in a gold suit is seen grasping his crotch! Nothing could be more misrepresenting as this is a drama of lust, greed, power, and ruthlessness. Get past the promo and settle in for a drama and the result is not bad.
Benito Gonzalez (Javier Bardem) is a construction worker with a dream: he is obsessed with power of building and owning the tallest building in Barcelona and of becoming the richest man who can own gold Rolex watches and have all the women he wants. He is a lustful lover, first with his best friend Mosca's (Francesco Dominedo) sister Rita (Elisa Tovati) whose body and scent are a passion for him. Yet he dreams of his tallest building (the possibility of his achieving this is not unlike the ease of getting an erection!) and he focuses his life on his greed. His co-worker Miguel (Alessandro Gassman) is to help him fulfill his dream, but when he discovers Miguel is sleeping with Rita he is incensed and leaves his lowly construction job for the promise of riches in Barcelona.
Through stepping on people, using devious means to get backing and money for his 'Gonzalez Tower', Benito gradually destroys all of those who want to help him - his new girl Claudia (Maribel Verdu) with whom he has another sexual obsession then talks into sleeping with one of his money source prospects, the banker (Albert Vidal) who has slept with Claudia becomes his father-in-law when for monetary gain Benito marries daughter Marta (Maria de Medeiros), a wily but wealthy film producer 'Gil with the Chickpeas' (Ángel de Andrés López), and more.
By breaking the law, abusing his 'friends', and lying in general Benito's building is nearly completed. But a series of tragedies involving Mosca's accidental death, and an auto accident with many permutations for Benito, and the ultimate loss of funding result in Benito's multiple losses of his dreams, betrayals of his pitiful sex life (this time a lowly gardener Bob (Benicio Del Toro) steals his paramour) leave Benito destroyed. The story is actually on the order of a Greek tragedy - but sadly without the impact.
Though Javier Bardem is a brilliant actor and is in the company of other exceptional actors, the script by JJ Bigas Luna is weak, paying little attention to character motivation and emphasizing instead gross caricatures. But if the film is taken as a recreation of the driving, greedy, power obsession of the 1980s then the message makes its impact. And it is always good to see early work by such actors as Bardem, Del Toro, and Verdu! Grady Harp
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