30 March 2014

Before Night Falls


Before Night Falls 2000
  • Director: Julian Schnabel
  • Based on the memoirs of Reinaldo Arenas
  • Cast: Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Olatz Lopez Garmendia, Lia Chapman, Sean Penn
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Johnny Depp  Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Slow Burn, Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Arizona Dream, Benny and Joon, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Dead Man, Nick of Time, Donnie Brasco, The Brave, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Astronaut’s Wife, Sleepy Hollow, The Man Who Cried, Chocolat, Blow, From Hell, Lost in La Mancha, Pirates of the Caribbean (all four of them), Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Secret Window, Finding Neverland, Libertine, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Public Enemies, Alice in Wonderland, The Tourist
    • Sean Penn – Milk, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, 21 Grams, Mystic River, I Am Sam, The Thin Red Line, She’s So Lovely, Dead Man Walking, Carlito’s Way, Shanghai Surprise, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Racing with the Moon, Pauly Shore Is Dead, The Game
    • Javier Bardem – No Country for Old Men
  • Why? JD
  • Seen:  March 23, 2014
       Even though reading is as important to me as breathing and films nearly so I rarely like films about authors.  I’ve not read anything by Reinaldo Arenas so I can’t express an opinion about his writing but this film doesn’t inspire me to find out.  It’s mostly, well, boring.  It gives almost no background to or explanation for the Cuban revolution and only a fragmented and unsatisfying picture of the underground gay community in Cuba in the 60’s and 70’s.  None of the characters are at all likeable. In fact they are generally despicable, cops, soldiers and victims alike.
       Sean Penn is in the film for about a minute, JD about five, first as a transvestite and then as a sadistic guard.  He does both parts well. When his roles are done, the rest of the film drags, as in fact it has done up to his five minutes as well.
       The political agenda of the film is too simplified to be convincing and it’s hard to care about the fate of the character even though it’s quite sad.
       I’m sure they all had good intentions in making the film but you know what they say about good intentions.

1 3/4 * of 5

        

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