UK Release date: 18th May 2012 (Limited)
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 9th December 2012.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I had heard some good reports about this one and, despite it being in Spanish (with subtitles), I decided to be brave and give it a look. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s quite a compelling story that’s well written, well acted and well produced. Set in Bolivia, it tells the tale of a film crew who become involved with the native population and their dispute with a water company. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
A group of filmmakers led by producer Costa (Luis Tosar) and director, Sebastián (Gael García Bernal) are making a film about the early settlers in South America. They are filming in Bolivia and use the local indigenous population as extras, playing the parts of the natives. One of them, Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri), is a bit of a troublemaker but Sebastián likes him and he is cast as the leader of the natives, Atuey. It turns out that the natives are in a dispute with the local water company who have cut off their clean water supply. They are not even allowed to collect the rain! Of course this escalates and Daniel is right on the front line. Costa, fearing his film could be ruined if Daniel is hurt, arrested, or injured, tries to persuade him to take a back seat… But as he explains, ‘some things are more important than your film’. The cast and crew all know the natives grievances are justified but can’t seem to get the authorities to listen. It’s all heading for a large confrontation, but who will finish on top?
I found it very easy to identify with all of the main players thanks to some great performances from all involved and also a really nicely written script. It’s really well shot with nice big, easily legible subtitles (more like this please foreign filmmakers!). It was interesting to see a film set in that region, we don’t see very much from that part of the world. There are also some historical facts about the conquistadors that I wasn’t aware of and so it even educated be a little! I love the way it slowly dawns on the crew that the mistakes made 500 years previously are still being made today! Over all, I found it well worth a look and it’s one I would certainly look at again sometime.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 8.3/10
IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 4,690 votes at the time of going to press).
MetaScore: 69/100: (Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 83/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 5,687 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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