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Reviews & Ratings for
The Last Circus More at IMDbPro »Balada triste de trompeta (original title)

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

"Freaks" meets "Santa Sangre"

Author: ( from NYC
19 October 2011

If you have seen any film by Alex de la Ingelsia, then you know that no two of his films are alike, that they contain a lot of humor and arresting images, and often a lot of graphic gores, and are the product of a very original mind. THE LAST CIRCUS is no exception. There are images in this film that will stay with you for years.

The settings are many and varied, beginning with the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and winding up in 1973 on a War Monument that includes a giant cross and statues for an ending that will bring to mind Hitchcock's NORTH BY NORTHWEST. Along the way there is a nightclub dedicated to Telly Savalas called Kojak!

Pedro Rodríguez has created two very different special effects makeups, one of a man who has self-mutilated his face with acid and a hot iron, and another by man who has had his face slashed with a grappling hook and then stitched back together by a veterinarian. Rodríguez is someone whose future work bears watching.

The setting for much of the action is a traveling circus reminiscent of FREAKS crossed with Alejandro Jodorowsky's SANTA SANGRE. Clowns have always been pretty creepy anyway, but you will never look at them the same after this film.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Crazy Clowns with guns....what could be wrong?

Author: CrazinessCax from Argentina
14 September 2011

Great movie. Not for everyone. At the very beginning you will know what kind of movie you are going to watch. Very dramatic, funny and terrifying. Has every ingredient, but you will find it difficult to classify it in a genre. The story is not different from what you've probably seen before, what makes the difference is the way it is told. 10 points for the acting. You actually feel the changes every character has as the movie goes along. The music also flows great with the film in every way, and creates fantastic atmospheres in every moment. The editing may be the weakest thing of the film. Anyway, great. You don't get to watch a dark funny film very often...

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Odd movie...

Author: Paul Magne Haakonsen from Denmark
1 January 2016

This movie was sort of odd but in an enjoyable way. There was something disturbingly unique about this love story. And you shouldn't get deterred by the fact that it is a Spanish movie.

The story is about a clown coming to stay with a circus. Here he is treated as an outsider, and he quickly comes to fall for a young performer in the circus who is in a brutal and violent relationship with another clown who is more than fond of alcohol.

This is not your average horror comedy, because the story in "The Last Circus" (aka "Balada triste de trompeta") was fairly well-constructed, but even more so because of the bizarre and outrageous characters. And there is a very nice pace to the storytelling.

The movie is dark and gritty, which really helps to set the great atmosphere that permeates the entire movie.

However, I don't think that "The Last Circus" is the type of movie that you will watch more than once. But it should be said that it is well-worth your time to sit down and watch it at least once.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

What happened to Alex de la Iglesia?

Author: ciffou from El Salvador
21 May 2015

Several years ago I watched "El dia de la bestia". I recall I had fun. Then with "Crimen Ferpecto" I laughed several times. I watched it so many times. Then it was "las brujas..." and I could not believe what I had just witnessed. Then I learned he had done this before - I just watched it. My god! This was a terrible mess. I don't know which one is worse.

I bet Iglesia watched one night that clip of Rafael singing and thought "I should do something with clowns again! But creepy clowns! I need animals around! So I need maybe a circus...or a war? Maybe both! Who cares? BLOOD!!!!"

I can't decide what's worst: the acting or the editing. The kid at the start, Alejandro Tejerias and even the leading lady...they are B.A.D.!

Our director AND writer just needed blood and beautiful photography. If that's all you as audience need, there you go, this is your movie. If you need a good story or simply a story that makes sense, you will be fighting to remain sane.

Things I wrote down while suffering with this: -SPOILERS AHEAD- They are hiding in the shower from the jealous lover inside the trailer, then it's another day, how did they manage to escape? The guy is deformed by the vet...but he has to go outside in a completely different place to see his new face again? When the guy is running from the pig, sometimes we see the animal and sometimes we don't...I guess there was not enough money. How much time has passed? What did the other guy do while the clown was hiding in the woods and the others left the circus? A single guy with a small gun can stop several soldiers - soldiers that, by the way, can't shoot a damn thing! What was the point of having them there? Background noise from their bullets? What does Natalia want? Am I suppose to root for her? If she could run even with clown shoes, why didn't she do it sooner? Everybody is awful! Nobody reacts when a shotgun is near them. The police went inside before him but he finds the couple first?? What was the point of wasting screen time with "Motorista-fantasma"? Why?

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

No clowning around, this is a big top treat!

Author: Maz Murdoch (asda-man) from United Kingdom
15 February 2013

The moment I saw the trailer for The Last Circus, I fell in love. The bizarre, yet sublime, imagery, the engaging story, the intense music. The Last Circus looked like a hit! However, when some mediocre reviews came in I lowered my expectation slightly, but after seeing it, I needn't have bothered! The Last Circus astonished me at how good it was! I was left in amazement at seeing such a strange, beautiful, funny, sad, tragic and gripping gem. The Last Circus deserves to be a cult classic, for it will certainly not be to everyone's tastes, but it is certainly is to my tastes!

The sublime opening sets the tone for the rest of the film. Children laugh as all the institutional information pops up, and then we realise that they're laughing at the clowns in the circus. This laughter is suddenly cut rather short however, when an army man comes in (because it's the civil war) declaring all the circus members to fight! Then some wonderfully weird titles come up with seemingly random images of the Spanish civil war, Universal monsters and other random film clippings including Cannibal Holocaust. Its bizarre and unconventional, which is exactly what this film is! The engaging opening is then finished off with some fantastic imagery of a clown dressed up as a woman, carrying a machete and slicing up the opposition! It's a fantastic surreal image and one you're not likely to forget.

After this great back-story has finished, we're introduced to our hero (or anti-hero). The sad clown. A great shot introduces us to all the weird and wonderful characters and it's often hilarious. We've got an elephant who gets jealous when her owner talks to another woman, we've got two old bickering dog trainers and the list goes on. It's a funny sequence and also a great way to get us introduced to all the characters, all of which are brilliant creations. But obviously the sad clown falls for the beautiful trapeze artist, who belongs to the happy clown. The happy clown is a seriously nasty piece of work. The first time we see him, he's tossing dwarfs out the door! It's this rivalry that drives the film forward. However, as the film goes on the line between good and evil begins to blur.

I don't want to say any more on the story because it would be a shame to spoil it. The great thing about the Last Circus is that it tells a story. It's a story I loved, and obviously one which the film-makers cared about because it's told so well. The characters are fantastic, with people you can care about, and others you can't. You'll root for the tragic sad clown, who is the only one who has the guts to stand up to the bullying happy clown, but things later take an unpredictable turn. The Last Circus is a love story at heart, and the poor person in-between this bitter feud is the innocent Nathalia, the trapeze artist who you can't help but feel sorry for as she drives two clowns absolutely wild!

The Last Circus never stops looking amazing. Sometimes it looks more like an art piece than a film, especially when crazy imagery comes into play such as a clown machine-gunning a restaurant! The grand finale is surprisingly cinematic and quite a spectacle to behold. The Last Circus also never forgets its entertainment-value as horror fans are given some gloriously entertaining blood-shed, without it ever forgetting its story and characters at heart. The Last Circus has a big heart, and quite an emotional ending that left me in surprise.

Another great thing about The Last Circus is the pace. The pacing is sometimes break-neck, and the story motors along, trying not to waste a single frame. Sometimes I felt that it moved too quickly, and it would've been nice to soak some of it in. I also thought that the sad clown's descent into madness was too quick and unconvincing, however let's not forget that we're watching a film about two warring clowns! The Last Circus is not trying to be normal! The gripping narrative all culminates into an all-action finale that's pretty intense. The spectacular directing goes up another notch, and the fairytale soon comes to an end we all were hoping to see, and one that's actually very sad.

The Last Circus was even better than I thought it was going to be. From the trailer, I expected a bit of a mess (a beautiful mess nonetheless) however what I got was a focused story, with fantastic characters, spectacular directing and a tight screenplay. The Last Circus really is amazing to behold and unlike anything I've ever seen (and I've seen Taxidermia!) It's severely underrated and reminded me of The Prestige with clowns. So if you're after some surreal imagery, a gripping narrative, some intense directing and characters you can actually care about, then roll up, roll up for The Last Circus! No children allowed!

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A surreal fable, with gore and blood to boot

Author: Ayal Oren from Israel
17 July 2011

The first reaction I had to this film was - "an overkill". So much gore and blood in a small love triangle story, seemed excessive. But my very next thought was, I must be missing something. And as I went over the perfectly designed gory details of the movie one more time in my mind I realized I was watching a surreal fable on the fate of Spain from the Spanish civil war onward. The only proof of that claim I can give here without adding a spoiler is the fact that the opening scene of the film takes place in 1937 while most of the story happens on 1973, but there's no logical base for such a big time gap, the only reason these two dates were chosen is because the second is the mirror image of the first, and they both fit into the historic background necessary for the story.

As a fable, we have all the right ingredients of a fable in, the characters may be slightly flat, since their symbolic value is more important than their personality but the actors make it work anyhow.

So if your stomach can take gore and blood in quantities that would suit a horror movie, and you're interested in an original point of view on the destiny of Spain in the 20th century - it's definitely worth seeing

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Genre-crossing, unpredictable horror/comedy/drama

Author: from Canada
7 July 2011

Lately I tend to give every movie that I can't predict more favourable reviews than I should, but I really enjoyed this. My local video store clerks (at the stellar Eyesore Cinema in Toronto, Canada) tend to just hand me a movie to rent when I walk in, so I have no idea what I'm about to see until I get home and put it in my DVD player. Maybe they just know me there, but I thought this one was definitely something. It's strange how so many unlikable characters couldn't stop me from liking the film.

I can understand why the film is so polarizing. I gets 1 star reviews and 5 star reviews. That's often the sign that a film is at very least memorable. Totally original, unpredictable, funny, odd, horrifying, cartoonish, very violent, and filled with characters few could relate to, yet ultimately it's all wholly watchable. The Last Circus is sort of like 5 films in one and crosses genres wildly, but it kept me entertained throughout, which is pretty much all I ask of a film.

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Author: Tor Johnson-Lugosi from United States
23 November 2015

Beautifully rendered and splendidly unique. There is almost no way to fully describe it; but THE LAST CIRCUS is a love it or hate it movie. I loved it.

The performances are top notch; the script is sharp; every scene is unpredictable, the way a high wire trapeze act is.

Perhaps I'm generalizing too much, but I don't want to add even a specter of a spoiler. I grabs you from the first frame and never lets go. The director never tinkers with emotions, he plays them out grandly with a magnificent cast - like a juggler or a knife thrower. The circus itself is a perfect metaphor.

Buy it see it, but with this caveat - the film is grotesque and quite gory, but not for exploitation. You're not being snookered. Buckle up for one of the greatest shows on earth.

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clown craziness

Author: SnoopyStyle
17 October 2015

In 1937 Madrid, Republican militia conscripts circus performers to fight against the fascist forces. They are overrun and captured. The funny clown tells his son Javier to only be a Sad Clown because there is no happiness. It's 1973. Javier joins a ramshackle circus as a Sad Clown. He falls in love with the wildly beautiful aerial silk acrobat Natalia. Only she's the girlfriend of the volatile possessive owner lead clown Sergio.

This is a wild outlandish movie. It's got great stuff but rambling and uneven at times. It opens with a crazy machete wielding clown action scene. That sets up a surreal violent horror but then it turns into something slightly different. It becomes a romantic melodrama with violence. Then the last act turns back into more surreal violent chaos. The changes in the style does hold it back but this is a movie of an original vision.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I got goosebumps.

Author: pinar ornek from Turkey
17 October 2013

My first reaction with my half Spanish was "es una pelicula loca y enferma". I am not sure if these phrases have the same meaning with "such a sick and crazy movie". I've just directly translated from English. However, I think that this story is one of a kind. Usually, in movies starring clowns have interesting topics and stream. They are not a sign of "fun" and "happines". On the contrary, they are the indicators of the emotions of horror and dread. They have psychological problems - this is what scriptwriters want to do: conflict among emotions. As an example, Joker is the most known clown character and also, the movie "It" of Stephen King supports my argument. However, I've never seen before such a love triangle that includes two "sick" clowns. I know that clowns usually kill people but this "sad clown" and "happy clown" conflict was created in an interesting atmosphere with enough support of filming details. That's another point that I loved about this movie, the usage of camera and lighting were in harmony with the situation. I totally recommend this movie as a Spanish learner and a Spanish movie lover.

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