When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that sends them, their father and one brother's wife hurtling towards a shattering climax.
Philip Seymour Hoffman,
The story of Detective Agustin Rejas, a man clinging to the hope of an impossible love in an impossible world. Tracking Ezequiel, a delusional anarchist who incites the downtrodden masses to join in his brutal revolution against the fascist government in their unnamed Latin American country, Rejas finds solace in his sense of self-respect and the joy that his daughter and wife bring him. Then he meets Yolanda--his daughter's soulfully beautiful ballet teacher--a woman who sparks his long-forgotten passions and represents all that is good and all that is corrupt in their troubled country. But she, who appears to be a shelter from the storm, may in actuality be the storm's eye. Ultimately, as the revolution intensifies and the net closes around hunter and hunted alike, the dancer's truth will prove as elusive as the revolutionary's cause and the detective's peace. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The story is inspired by the Maoist insurgency in Peru known as the Shining Path. Its leader Abimael Guzmán, who was known by the nom de guerre President Gonzalo, was captured in an apartment above a ballet studio in the capital Lima in 1992. The ballet teacher Yolanda was based on Maritza Garrido Lecca, the woman in whose apartment Guzmán was found. Bardem's character was inspired by Benedicto Jimenez and General Antonio Ketin Vidal, the leading figures responsible for Guzmán's capture. See more »
In the garbage scene, soon after the Marxism book is mentioned, the female cop changes positions in between shots. See more »
[Rejas and Sucre are looking at a dead dog hanging from a lamp-post, with dynamite stuck down its throat]
What sort of a person would do that?
I don't know, but I wouldn't entirely rule out a cat-lover.
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The producers would like to thank ... the residents of Narcisos Street ... See more »
The film's trailer, which rain endlessly for months in advance at my local art house, and the reviews, etc., have emphasized this as a political thriller. But in fact it's really in the tradition of "Casablanca," where politics is a constant background to only part of the hero's motivation. I did expect someone to say "Round up the usual suspects!"
Awkwardly in this day and age, the Latino actors in the film's unnamed Latin American country (it was filmed in Ecuador and Madrid) all speak (accented) English, with subtitles to indicate when characters are speaking an Indian dialect, i.e. when the hero lawyer/detective is using his heritage to solve the complex case of politically-motivated murders.
But it's the complex layers that make this more interesting than Costa-Gavras' didactic "State of Siege" that is repeatedly referred to as an inspiration, both to director John Malkovich and the revolutionaries, and making this akin to HBO's "The Wire" in showing how a flawed cop can stick to his professionalism amidst deadly-serious bureaucratic and real politics.
The cop's simplistically drawn Beverly Hills matron-type wife turns out to incidentally help him uncover a clue, as he gradually comprehends the cynicism of a revolution that uses unexpected types of cells for suicide missions, with resonance for the MidEast as well, as ideologues are more diabolically dangerous than criminals.
That the dancer is actually downstairs is emblematic of the film's genre confusion.
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