La carta esférica (2007) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
3 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
6/10
Sailor and siren
rogornmoradan18 October 2007
In the twenty years since he became a published writer in 1986, former Spanish war correspondent Arturo Pérez-Reverte has seen his name credited in ten films or TV series, the best-known among them being 'The ninth gate'. And almost each time the response has been disappointment for fans of his books and casual viewers alike. Most times, either the book or the hype promised more than the screen finally delivered. 'La carta esférica' is not an exception to this rule.

Pérez-Reverte's stories of his trademark tired heroes aim to be adventure tales with canonical presentation, plot and denouément, and at the same time heavy in characterisation effort, with detailed descriptions of what goes through the mind of the leading character before he acts next. Typically, a book needs to be found, or a map, or a painting, or a crime needs to be solved, and there we go, following our grizzled hero in the adventure.

Basque director Imanol Uribe was attracted precisely to this type of classic adventure yarn when reading the novel: a sailor anxious to get back on a ship after a forced spell on land because of a legal problem finds the chance to do it, with a twist: there's a map (the nautical chart of the title), a beautiful and determined woman, a discovery to be made and a couple of bad guys. Obviously he reacts like 'gimme a break, this type of thing just doesn't happen any more...', but of course, there wouldn't be a story if that was the whole story. Classic Saturday-in-November, rain-outside, after-lunch-film fare.

And that's all there is, as far as the film is concerned. The characters then go from A to B to C etc, as the discoveries in the script dictate, but at the end of it all, the result is not terribly interesting. For starters, the aim of the search is nothing Earth-shattering, like the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Alliance, and to continue, the glue that holds the tale together, which is the obsession of Coy, the sailor, with Tánger, the woman, is largely lost and diluted.

One of the main criticisms made about this film is that it is dragged down by the use of voice-over (a resource which, if well used, produces marvellous results -witness Martin Scorsese's 'Casino' or 'Goodfellas', for example-, but if not well handled becomes a burden on the picture). Its use was an attempt to include that other driving theme of the novel, (apart from the voyage-and-discovery element), which is the age-old motif of the sailor tempted by the voice of a siren, a woman wiser than him who becomes to the mariner 'all women who ever lived'. Pérez-Reverte is a keen sailor himself, frequently going solo on his sailboat along the Mediterranean sea by whose shores he, and his character, Coy, were born. So, the sea, 'old and wise', the women who live by it, also growing wise after frequently waiting for their men gone to war since the times of the Odyssey, and the sailor who is brave when faced with danger and battle but often lost and rudderless in dealing with women, all form a part of the same canvas in which the story is set. Of course, this is quite interesting when read, but difficult to work into a basic film of X marks the spot, in particular when the original story tends to be a slow-burner to start with.

Carmelo Gómez is quite good as Coy the sailor, but Aitana Sánchez-Gijón had a tall order to serve, playing a woman who, without being extremely beautiful, toys with men more or less as she wishes. You do need to believe she's one to be able to pull that off for the script to work. The rest of the very short cast (pilot and two bad guys) are adequate.
10 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
6/10
The nautical chart
jotix1004 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Eighteenth century Spanish cartographer Urrutia Salcedo was a man ahead of his times. He was responsible for producing nautical charts that were revered by intelligent men that loved the sea; they felt guided by a master that put into paper maps that still today are considered unique documents, produced at a time where primitive techniques still were the norm. When one of his original works come into a Barcelona auction house, there is a bidding war among what appear three serious buyers. The book goes to Tanger, a representative of the national maritime museum located in Madrid.

The auction is seen through Coy's eyes, a man that loves old charts as well as has a passion for the sea. He cannot help himself in following Tanger to the museum to check on a particular detail of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. What he discovers is a difference of a nautical mile in the Urrutia Salcedo's map of the region that might shed light on the mystery of the lost brigantine Dei Gloria, which sank off the coast of Spain on a return trip from Cuba, a couple of centuries ago.

What follows is Coy's quest to find out the sunken ship, but he is not prepared to deal with the two men that are also interested in finding the ship. Add that to his involvement with Tanger, who is more ways than one, has not completely let Coy know what her real intentions are.

Imanol Uribe, the director of this film, who adapted the Arturo Perez Reverte bestseller, has an eye for detail, placing his movie in different points of Spain. He was lucky in finding Javier Aguirresarobe to do the splendid cinematography for the movie.

Carmelo Lopez does an excellent job as Coy. With his handsome dark looks, he makes the best of his character. In some ways his work in this film is a joy to watch. The only weak element is Aitana Sanchez Gijon, who doesn't bring a menacing touch to her Tanger, a duplicitous woman, if ever there was one. Enrico Loverso, a good Italian actor seems out of his element as Palermo.

The film is somewhat predictable because we realize where it's going from the start, but it offers a tale of adventure in incredible locales that is its best asset.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
Sea adventure plenty of historical chart , ancient archives , treasure hunters and , overall , emotion
ma-cortes2 June 2016
Based on the homonymous novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte dealing with mean people who seek valuable treasures at whatever cost . Exciting thriller including noisy action , thrills , twists , turns , an intense love story , offbeat characters and moving as well as emotive musical score . It deals with Coy (Carmelo Gómez) , an expert but retired seaman who meets a gorgeous woman called Tánger (Aitiana Sánchez Gijón) , a representative of the national maritime museum . Tanger asks him for help : decipher chart by Urrutia Salcedo , a notorious eighteenth century Spanish cartographer . Tánger attempts to discover the lost ¨Pecio¨ of the brigantine Dei Gloria , which sank off the coast of Cartagena on a return journey from Cuba . Later on , Coy and Tanger carry out a relentless quest to find out the sunken brigantine , but a tough mobster (Enrico Lo Verso) and his hoodlum are stalking them , trying to find out clues about a treasure located on the ship a couple of centuries ago.

This interesting tale takes a lot of sea literature from Homero , Joseph Conrad to Herman Melville , all of them are included in "The Nautical Chart" . An engaging story that describes the main literary issues from Arturo Pérez-Reverte : enigmas , mystery plots and historical investigation . In addition , themes of betrayal and double cross the movie is about . Moving thriller plenty of emotion , suspense , intrigue , delusions , plot twists , a rare love story with abundant erotic frames and ship as well as underwater scenes . Despite being somewhat of a cinematic cliché , rarely has a feature been so aptly deserving of its description as a thriller picture along with some elements from Noir film , action and past historical events . Awesome acting by Carmelo Gómez as an ex-sailor in distress who becomes involved with a Femme Fatal , as he feels a strong attraction for a mysterious woman well played by Aitiana Sánchez Gijón . This is an entertaining picture in which suspense is well developed from start to finish , though crammed with several unappropriated intercourse scenes -in softcore style- between Carmelo Gomez and Aitiana Sánchez Gijón who holds some nude scenes . Imanol Uribe , also writes the script along with Arturo Pérez-Reverte , based on his novel , filmed in his usual formal and stylistic scholarship , without leaving a trace the thought-provoking issues , in terms of dramatic and narrative excitement . Reverte is a Spanish journalist and TV reporter, who turned to writer and today the best-selling author in Spain and the best-selling Spanish author in the world . Famous author of "Alatriste" novels as he carried out quite a lot of the work of investigating historical documents relating to 17th Century Madrid. His novels have the common thread of being based on real historical times and that in each case a great deal of investigation goes into the making of his stories, as well as the fact that he has had to learn a great deal on topics ranging from chess-playing to historical first-editions from 16th Century Dutch masters to Informatics and even swordsmanship . His extraordinary imaginative abilities have been able to produce well-written adventure stories , being adapted for cinema the following novels : ¨The Fencing Master¨ , ¨Territorio Comanche¨ , ¨The ninth gate¨ , ¨Cachito¨ , ¨Gitano¨ and ¨Tabla De Flades¨ . ¨The Nautical Chart" turns out to be a hard-edge thriller/drama centers around Carmelo Gómez/Coy , Aitiana Sánchez Gijón/Tanger conflicts and their peculiar love story . The yarn is nicely paced but sometimes results to be slow-moving , because of the story needs a vibration more real than the one offered in this flick , though also contains interesting scenes , thrilling images and sensitive moments . Anyway, its is compensated with the great performances from main cast , and fine support cast , interpreters who provided a considerable boost to the result . Imanol is a great director of actors and the main players are complemented by a good cast of secondaries ; all of them forming a powerful human group and giving excellent interpretations such as Enrico Lo Verso , García Gallego , Carlos Kaniowsky , among others .

Atmospheric and evocative musical score by Bingen Mendizabal who composes a stirring soundtrack . Including a spotless pictorial cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe and a willingness , almost perfect of the elements of each shot , every sequence , every space ; being rightly filmed on location in Algeciras, Barcelona, Cádiz, Cartagena, Madrid y Murcia . Aguirresarobe subsequently would make a prestigious career in Hollywood such as ¨Fright night , ¨The twilight saga : eclipse¨, ¨The road¨ , ¨The others¨ and many others . This Antonio Cardenal/Enrique Cerezo production was professionally written , produced by Imanol Uribe who also directed , though has some flaws and resulted to get average success at Spanish Box office . Uribe who lived and had a son with actress María Barranco , gained fame early in his career for his controversial socio-political portraits of the Basque people , such as ¨Fuga Segovia¨, ¨Muerte Mikel¨ and he turned to thriller as ¨Adios Pequeña¨, ¨Plenilunio¨ and drama as ¨Bwana¨ , ¨Rey Pasmado¨ , ¨Extraños¨ and his biggest hit smash : ¨Dias Contados¨ or ¨Running out of time¨.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews