Epic telenovela that chronicles Mexico's War of Independence
Superb epic that recreates the turbulent events that led to Mexico's independence in 1821. While this is not the first telenovela to chronicle these events, the saga benefits from the presence of an excellent cast that includes Patricia Reyes Spindola, Aaron Hernan, Lorenzo de Rodas, Sergio Jimenez, Juan Pelaez, Enrique Rocha, and Maria Rojo.
The plot involving the Foncerrada family and the villainous Pedro de Soto is somewhat cliched, but this doesn't hamper the story. Juan Pelaez delivers an outstanding performance as independence leader Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, while Sergio Reynoso (who, prior to this, was largely known for starring in ultra violent action movies with his older brother, Jorge) portrays guerrilla commander Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon as a standard "movie tough guy." Enrique Rocha is perfectly cast as Spaniard viceroy Felix Maria Calleja, the primary enemy of Hidalgo and Morelos. Rene Casados gives a slightly melodramatic performance as Royalist Mexican officer Agustin Iturbide (he would later go over the top in his roles in "Tres Mujeres" and "Abrazame Muy Fuerte"), but he manages to restrain himself before going overboard. Roberto Ballestros and Humberto Elizondo, known for playing villains in telenovelas, are given the rare opportunity to play heroes for once: Elizondo plays Morelos' right hand, Hermenegildo Galeana, while Ballestros plays Vicente Guerrero, the last Morelos lieutenant that would help lead Mexico to independence in 1821. The only miscast is Ernesto La Guardia as Hidalgo's chief lieutenant, Ignacio Allende. Although La Guardia does his best to play the second-in-command, he seems to have some difficulty with the role.
The series succeeds in conveying the tragic irony of the war: rather than being a war between Mexican rebels and Spanish overlords, the struggle was a conflict between Mexican insurgents and Mexican troops that were fighting on the side of the Spanish crown. One interesting note is that the last episodes briefly include Francisco Javier Mina, the Spanish lawyer turned guerrilla fighter who was the only Spaniard to have fought for Mexico's independence.
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