Alatriste - Opinion
21 September 2006
There are some actors who work with the gesture: the fold of Robert Mitchum's eyes while he takes the last drag off a cigarette; Bogart's voice and the tic of his hand lightly touching his ear lobe to accompany a thought... Viggo Mortensen, on the other hand, can be completely expressive just by walking.
Good actors know that when they choose a gesture they are actually choosing their fate. Fletcher Christian knew it when he unsheathed his sabre proclaiming the mutiny on board the Bounty; It was also known by that drunk sailor and that puritan and skinny missionary when sabotaging on behalf of England's honour in a ramshackle boat called The African Queen; It was known by the cynical Rhett Butler when he was fighting together with the Confederate army that reddish night of the burning of Atlanta. And it is especially known by the captain Alatriste when he faces the last battle which has to be lost with rage and disappointment and an unquestionable elegance of the heart.
If I had to choose a sequence from the movie, I would not choose the ending despite its dramatic strength, or the moment in which some men who are up to their necks in water advance through the fog in the hell of Flanders. But there is a scene that has moved me for what it has of absurd pride and concealed personal dignity. I'm referring to the moment in which Alatriste shows up before the Count-Duke with his worn-out old boots and a disdainful fold at the corner of his lips. The camera follows him across the room. His walk is slow, but firm, defiant, with a very slight twist of his hip which implies arrogance and tension equally. The best cinema is the one that can make us remember even the walk of some guys who sometimes we don't even understand.
The heroes we like are always accompanied by the unmistakable smell of local cinemas. They may have Marlon Brando's eyes or Viggo Mortensen's, but the fact is that they have our own look, the look we had before it was darkened by adult age, and that's why they surprise us again, when we least expect it, with the crack of a teenage stab.
Last edited: 4 December 2006 15:34:48