Film-Related & Film Reviews 2006

Alatriste - A Review


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Today the Rome Film Festival presented the first, real product of entertainment seen until now at this exhibition: this statement should be read with the most positive meaning, because Alatriste offers the audience a performance that is as incisive in its packaging as it is intelligent in its development.

The Captain Alatriste character was born from the never banal pen of Arturo Perez Reverte, and since the very beginning has appeared to be an ideal subject for a cinematic adaptation, able to satisfy both the most refined tastes and the big audience.

The director Agustin Diaz Yanes was able to make the best use of the epic potential in order to bring out an all-accomplished hero, a complex figure, but also a character you can totally empathize with at the same time.

Making a movie which is a contemporary update of the old and esteemed "cloak and sword" theme, the director gave the story a quite effective internal rhythm and visual consistency, reaching some moments of stylistic elegance which we wouldn't have expected to find in a movie like this.

The script is well-designed and selects into its 140 minutes a lot of events and tales, never ending up in confusion and defining all the main characters with sensitivity.

The casting choices are all quite well-made: in particular, the lead actor, Viggo Mortensen, after the fruitful experience of portraying Aragorn in the Lord of the Ring trilogy, seems to have now reached a charismatic greatness, and is able to propel himself as the "hero" of this particular time.

Alatriste is a work of elegant cinematic results, opulent and thorough in its environmental reconstruction and characterised by a compact narration that is sometimes even painful. Even if it belongs to the class of a mere performance of entertainment, the movie is certainly worthy of attention, and it has to be really taken into consideration for its formal outcome.

As it is a mostly European co-production - Spain and France - we can really hope that in the "old-country" it is eventually possible to carry out large-scale projects, that are able to entertain viewers without making them uncomfortable with a useless veil of cold haughtiness.

Perhaps the best merit of Alatriste is that it avoids this presumption.
Last edited: 28 November 2006 16:09:57
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