The rise of national socialism in Germany should not be regarded as a conspiracy of madmen. Millions of "good" people found themselves in a society spiralling into terrible chaos. A film about then, which illuminates the terrors of now.
Algeria, 1954. Two very different men thrown together by a world in turmoil are forced to flee across the Atlas mountains. Daru, the reclusive teacher, has to escort Mohamed, a villager accused of murder.
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 »
During the white flag scene at Rocroi, the corpses around the Spanish soldiers move between takes. See more »
I went to see this movie without reading the books first and with only a vague knowledge of the historical events the novels are based upon. Apparently, the director thought that it would be a good idea to condensate the five Alatriste novels in a single film, in order to give depth to the characters. A big mistake. The pace is for the most part too fast and anecdotic, and the action jumps from here to there without ever giving a clear reason why everyone behaves the way they do, from the romantic plots scattered along the movie to the great political conspiracies. It is never very clear either why Alatriste, who is little more than a soldier and hired assassin, is so important to so many people of high rank.
In spite of all this, I cannot give the film a bad rating because it is certainly a pleasure to watch. The technical aspects, the general "look" of the film, the music, and the acting are splendid. The casting can be a controversial point, but the chosen actors do wonders.
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