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This is a story about a friendship between two girls Katherina ( Sienna
Guillory ) and Blanca ( Catalina Sandina Moreno ) from their childhood
until youth . Tension rises in a little town from Andalucia where find
the Rio Tinto mines ( Huelva ) . Then takes place the confrontation
between employees and employers caused by contamination and work
conditions ; being partially based on facts . A strike asking no more
Teleros ( place where emerges toxic gas ) leads a spiral of blood and
violence . Later on , in the 50s the British property mines were
returned to Spain . The film is dedicated to memory everybody died in
square of Rio Tinto.
This is a stirring drama with romance , betrayal , passion , and historical/political/social events . I don't understand why the English people are completely portrayed as ominous villains and heinous nasties when they are film's co-producers , perhaps for that reason resulted to be a flop in England . Casting is frankly cool , formed by British and Spanish actors . As the protagonists , Catalina Sandino Moreno ( Maria llena eres Gracia) as good girl , Sienna Guillory ( Resident Evil II , Eragon )as revolutionary youth and Philip Winchester ( Robinson Crusoe series ) as idealist guy . And secondary cast appears Bernard Hill ( Titanic ), Joaquin De Almeida as the mean magnate , Javier Perugorria as the Mayor , Fernando Ramallo as striker and Juan Fernandez as ominous hoodlum . Colorful cinematography by Javier Salmones ( Romasanta , Butterfly tongue ) and emotive score by Fernando Orti . The motion picture is professionally directed by Antonio Cuadri who was born in Huelva ( Andalucia ) location where are the mines . He is a fine craftsman with some hit , such as ¨La Gran Vida ( with Salma Hayek) ¨ and previously made a documentary titled ¨Riotinto (2004)¨. Nowadays , he only directs TV episodes ( Cuentame, Manolito Gafotas , among them).
This film is ambitious, yet well directed and executed as far as it goes with the possible dramatic facts that happened in Río Tinto (Teinted River), the photography and the acting of everyone, including the extras. I was enjoying it until the romance was included, because it does not add any value to the history in question and shows a bit indecisive about what it really should be. On the other hand, the sound is absolutely depressing. I am Spanish, but I would have loved to see this movie without any dubbing. The actor "de Almeida" has an impressive voice and he speaks fluently Spanish and English, I don't see the need to spoil his dialog with an eclectic tone. Had the movie had more of the local problem plot, the English in English and the Spanish in Spanish with the doe subtitles, I would've given it a 9.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The Heart of the Earth", evidently was a big deal in Spain where a
reportedly 13 million euros went into the production of this misguided
film that leaves the viewer cold, when all is said and done. Based on a
novel by Juan Cobos Wilkins, it takes the viewer back to a time when
the Riotinto copper mine was in operation in Spain's province of
Huelva. It chronicles the tragic events of the last century in which
the mine was being exploited by the English who had an enclave near
where it was located.
We are told a story that is seen by two young girls, Blanca and Katherine. Blanca was a local girl, while Katherine came from class and privilege. The two girls loved getting in all kinds of mischief, involving one that will stay with them forever for they were the witness of a carnage from the Civil Guard of many miners that dared oppose the company that employed them under precarious conditions. The miners wanted to make a stand about the conditions in the workplace and the noxious fumes from the many smokestacks that made sick the locals as well as the men that extracted the ore.
As directed by Antonio Cuadri, the film does not impress as perhaps it was intended. Perhaps the problem is in the casting and in the stereotypes shown in the story. One does not believe for a moment on what is going on. To add injury, the producers of this film insisted in bringing different actors from Spanish speaking countries as well as mixing some American and British players. The result is a cacophony of accents that is harsh on the viewer's ears. Worst off is Jorge Perigurria, the Cuban actor from "Strawberry and Chocolate", sporting a ridiculous mustache, who we are made to believe is the mayor of the town, a stretch of the imagination, indeed.
This is a very traditionally scripted, directed and acted movie. It's so obvious that to mix with some deadbeat unnecessary romance was unnecessary but only for the purpose to add some spices for this actually quite boring screenplay and make the movie itself more watchable. The poor mining condition of the town and the surreal rich life of the British administration are nothing but an arranged contrast scene to justified the uproar of the working class to find the willpower and strength to become revolutionists or Communists. The screenplay of this movie is quite lukewarm and tasteless, the romance also pretty contrite. Two girls with different kind of races and backgrounds grew up together, witnessed the social injustice, the bloody massacre and the murders of the poor people is the main thread of this movie but it didn't serve a profound connection to the movie at all. The soundtrack that interwoven the whole movie also sounded just like numb music, a constant noise that must be carried along with the going of the movie. This is a very weak screenplay directed by a very weak and too traditional director. Watchable but at the same time, quite forgettable.
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