|Index||2 reviews in total|
The movie pleasantly surprised me. Characters dramas and atmosphere are the keys here, not the plot, which is rather thin. Noticeable is the subtle, but constant erotic arousal between Leo and the 3 female main characters, who, at certain point all seem to be falling for him. Don't expect explicit scenes, romance is just suggested and that makes the movie worth. C.Lambert is acting very well IMHO, bringing to life an unexpected mixture of manhood, loser, romance and sensitivity. Sophie Marceau is ravishing as a very beautiful woman condemned in the wheelchair, but still aspiring for love and fulfillment in her life. She is an educated woman, even sophisticated, having high expectations from the people surrounding her. She reminds of a noble from other century sometimes. I found very nice to watch how such a character played by Marceau ends up falling for the sometimes rude Lambert, and also, how this "rude" boy, a former boxer now drinking all his pennies, can display such profound and delicate feelings. In conclusion I would give it 7.5, which is good, but not great.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As the story begins, we watch as Leo arrives for an interview with
Muriel, a paralyzed woman. Lucia, her assistant, warns Leo not to
expect anything from the lady, who seems to terrorize anyone she
employs. Leo is an unlikely candidate for the position, possibly ill
suited to handle the needs of Muriel, who is bed bound. In a surprise
move, she decides to hire him to alternate with Lucia the duties of a
nurse, servant and cook in the large house where she lives.
Things do not go smoothly between Leo and Muriel. She barely tolerates him. Leo has a drinking problem; he even resorts to drinking pure alcohol by itself, or sometimes with Coke. He is quite a sight to behold. Leo is unkempt, appears to be dirty, so one wonders what could be the attraction Muriel sees in the man. From a shaky start, Leo, who wants to get Muriel out of the house, succeeds in surprising ways. In Muriel's eyes he begins to be seen in a different light.
Leo's past is revealed as he visits a local gym where he spots a man that knew him as a professional boxer, a champion, whose success was short lived because his love for the bottle. He sees two women boxers sparring at the place, and he sees the possibilities for taking Lina, a woman who tried to rob him at the market, to the top. While he is not interested in his protégé sexually, she gets a different reading.
Leo is able to get Muriel out of her rut. He starts taking her all over the ancient city where she has lived, but did not dare go out for fear of being hurt. There is a definite undercurrent between them as Muriel gets a different view from this scruffy man with almost no manners, but who was the only person to make her see the world around her.
Directed by Alain Monne, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nathalie Vailloud, "Cartagena" is a bittersweet comedy. Based on a novel by Eric Holder, whose "Mademoiselle Chambon" was successfully adapted for the screen, it gets an interesting production. Totally shot in beautiful Cartagena, Colombia, a gorgeous setting with the mystery and charm of the old town, the film feels one's senses.
A scruffy Christopher Lambert plays Leo, the man with a past, now trying to make it in his new adopted city. The actor shows tenderness as he approaches the way he handles Muriel, who in spite of not being able to feel anything, can still feel he is a man. The Muriel of Sophie Marceau does not let her do much since she only can move her head. In spite of that handicap, she does a wonderful job as the fragile woman who suddenly can feel the lushness around her guided by Leo.
Antoine Roch photographs the beautiful scenery in glowing colors. The music score is credited to Florencia Di Concilio. This is Alain Monne's film debut in the French cinema. He has done well for this being his first opportunity in which to show his talent.
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