In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.
At a Los Angeles hospital in the 1920s, Alexandria is a child recovering from a broken arm. She befriends Roy Walker, a movie stunt man with legs paralyzed after a fall. At her request, Roy tells her an elaborate story about six men of widely varied backgrounds who are on a quest to kill a corrupt provincial governor. Between chapters of the story, Roy inveigles Alexandria to scout the hospital's pharmacy for morphine. As Roy's fantastic tale nears its end, Death seems close at hand. Written by
If you liked Cinema Paradiso and the Princess Bride then you will also love this film.
I saw this movie at the Toronto film festival, the Elgin Theater.
First off, it was nice to see a film where the director had complete creative control to execute his vision. This film does not suffer the fate of marketers or no talent Hollywood producers who think they are artist or visionaries.
If you liked Cinema Paradiso and the Princess Bride then you will also love this film. Tarsem's lavish imagery and fantastic locations create the atmosphere for an epic adventure, while the acting of Lee Pace, Justine Waddell and especially, Cantinca Untaru provide the drama and laughter.
First, Cantinca Untaru as Alexandria is superb. I normally avoid films with children as they are usually cheesy or groan worthy. Cantinca, however, is much like the little boy in Cinema Paradiso, a natural child. When Alexandria says things we believe her, when she does things it is her child like nature we are watching come out. There is nothing stiff or unnatural about this young actress and it is a great credit to Tarsem as a director that he was able to pull this level of acting from a child. While watching the movie, I was amazed at how Tarsem and Cantinca were able to move the audience from laughter to tears and back to laughter so fluidly. Lee Pace puts in an excellent show and does a great job as a suicidal patient in the hospital, but Cantinca is definitely the star of this show.
Tarsem has a great eye for location and he exhibits it well in this movie. It truly was shot all over the world. Along with all the great locations are the beautifully colorful costumes of fashion designer Eiko Ishioka. The costumes are larger than life and beautiful in their symbolism.
So having said all that, I would highly recommend this movie. This is one of those rare films that actually does have a bit of something for everyone yet keeps its integrity.
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