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Spain 17th century.Diego Alatriste, brave and heroic soldier, is fighting under his King's army in the Flandes region. His best mate, Balboa, falls in a trap and near to die ask to Diego, as his last desire, to looking after his son Inigo and grow him as a soldier. Alatriste has to come back to Madrid. Written by
The role of Inquisitor Emilio Bocanegra is played by a woman, veteran actress Blanca Portillo. This caused controversy, not so much because it might look disrespectful towards the Church, but because many fans could not see the point in doing something like this. Díaz Yanes said that he had had the idea of using a female actress from the beginning, because he saw 'that Great Inquisitor role' as something too cartoonish and black-and-white and wanted to introduce a fresh, less recognizable element to it, and still make viewers suitably uneasy about so powerful and fearful a character. He cited the Oscar-winning supporting role of Linda Hunt in The Year of Living Dangerously (1982), where she played a man, as an example of what he wanted to achieve. Incidentally, Blanca Portillo wears her hair very short in her next film, Volver (2006), as a result of having had it cut for this role. See more »
When the group walks back from their white flag meeting with the French commander at the battle of Rocroi, the movie focuses on how few Spanish soldiers are left. In the foreground a few casualties can be seen. On the left a man in brown clothes lying on his back, his spear in his right hand. A little to the right in this same shot exactly the same casualty in exactly the same pose can be seen, except for a few details regarding the shadows on the ground. See more »
Alatriste is definitely one of the best Spanish movies of the last years.
The cast is definitely wonderful with special mention to Javier Cámara as Count-Duke of Olivares, Juan Echanove as Francisco de Quevedo, Eduard Fernández as Sebastián Copons and Elena Anaya as Angélica de Alquézar. The rest of the cast is pretty good as well with the possible exception of Martín Saldaña being played by Francesc Garrido whose acting just didn't move me.
The music is gorgeous and a big effort was made to reproduce the atmosphere both in the filthy dangerous streets of XVII century's Madrid and in the opulent royal palaces and nobility's villas.
The decadence of the Empire and the selfish and greedy courtesan life is very well shown as well.
I would remark just two weak points in my opinion: 1) The attempt to concentrate 5 books in a single film makes you get the feeling that the script lacks continuity at some points, even when the story is a good one itself.
2) Although the atmosphere of the narrow old streets of Madrid is well reproduced I miss scenes where whole areas of imperial Madrid can be seen. The Austria's castle or the Plaza Mayor could have been shown in order to display a general view of the city's architectonic grandeur. However no open areas can be seen in the movie and it's all narrow streets and little squares which can be confusing at some points.
Even if I think it could be improved, I find Alatriste worth a visit to your favourite theatre.
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