Monday, August 18, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barelona

Woody Allen's latest movie, currently playing at the Park Cinema on Cambie Street, is one of his best.

Charming, funny, fascinating, beautifully cast, acted and filmed in delicious locations around Spain, this is Allen proving once again that you can take a story in 101 directions, pulling it like taffy, as long as you keep it interesting.

Two American girls spend a summer in Spain. Both get involved with a handsome Spanish painter.
The painter has an almost ex-wife.

Let the complications - and the gags -begin.

The painter is Javier Bardem, hot off his Oscar for No Country for Old Men. Bardem is one of those rare actors who can do anything and be a movie star at the same time. He is addictively watchable.

Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall are the two girls.

After Woody's 2005 film, "Match Point," I was prepared to dismiss Johnasson as a very beautiful but hopelessly inadequate actress. Maybe she has learned some things along the way. Maybe she is better cast or directed here. Whatever the explanation, she is wonderful.

Halfway through the movie, Penelope Cruz bursts onto the screen as Bardem's gorgeous volatile and half-mad wife. Like Bardem, she can do anything in front of a camera and make you watch.

All of the kissing and seductions and sex and fights and tantrums are filmed in romantic Spanish settings, sun-drenched and elegant. Wine and comfort are everywhere. Music plays forever.

It is rare that I ever want to see a movie again immediately after the first viewing.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is such a movie.


Joseph Planta said...

What was it about Match Point that you didn't like, David?

Bentley said...

I was lucky to catch Vicki Cristina Barcelona over the weekend, too. While I concur with your comments about the cast, script, scenery and such (all first-rate, especially Rebecca Hall), I figure you'll agree the narration was the film's weak point. The narration was the worst in memory; too fast, and it telegraphed the action to a ridiculous degree. It was also downright silly at some points (such as telling us Juna Antonio headed out in the dead of night, despite the fact we just saw him do so). The film rises above this, thankfully. I did enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Buenos dias from Sevilla David. Being at the moment interested in all things Spanish, I will be off to the cinema to see this film as soon as we return from Espania. Of course, even when travelling I just have to check in with your blog and see what's happening in Vancouver. By the way, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are all over the tabloids here, although I'm afraid I have no idea of the gossip as my Spanish is pretty much limited to the words in this post.

By the way, used the Metro in Barcelona extensively and even though the stops are sometimes farther apart than one would like, it is a great system. A little air conditioning on the platforms wouldn't hurt however.