Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Evan Welch, Chris Messina, Patricia Clarkson, Kevin Dunn, Julio Perillán, Javier Bardem, Manel Barceló, Josep Maria Domènech, Penélope Cruz, Pablo Schreiber, Carrie Preston, Zak Orth, Abel Folk
PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexuality, and smoking
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Woody Allen has been fading as a filmmaker for years. Although Match Point was a nice re-invigoration of his brand, it's a high point in a long list of duds. Vicky Christina Barcelona falls on the side of dud, barely registering as a capable filmmaker's feature. To start, the narration is distracting and ill-fitting. We get all the information without getting to see it. The performances aren't all that great. Rebecca Hall is probably the best thing in the film, but even though I like Chris Messina, Patricia Clarkson and Scarlett Johnasson, they are not at the top of their respective games. Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz are good choices for their respective rolls, but neither really creates a permeable impression on the film. Bardem doesn't feel like he has the soul of a painter and Cruz does crazy pretty well, but so do lots of actors which makes her Oscar win a bit of a mystery to me.
The plot, while ambitious and interesting, is nevertheless rote. The film is filled with excessively unrealistic dialogue from the mouths of New York pseudo-intellectuals and is focused more on the intrigues of architecture than the architecture of intrigue.
July 26, 2010