The Last Circus [Blu-ray]
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(Magnolia Home Entertainment, 2011)
If you have a friend, or girlfriend, who doesn't like clowns and thinks that they're creepy, don't take them to see this film, thinking it'll help cure them. This dark Spanish action/tragicomedy tells the tale of two clowns, one a sociopathic abuser of women (the funny one, who makes kids laugh) and another whose father -- also a clown -- was killed by Franco's police after the Spanish Civil War. Javier is the sad clown, instructed to avenge his father, but unable to do it and consigned to a life as a nervous nebbish... That is, until he falls in love with the other clown's seductive, masochistic girlfriend, a path that leads to a kaleidoscopic welter of madness and violence. The first half of the film has surreal touches, but is almost a straight tragicomedy -- in the second half it leaps over the abyss into blood-soaked absurdism. There is an insane mishmash of stories, with hints of "The Most Dangerous Game," "The Blue Angel," "Phantom Of The Opera," "The Crow," various Hitchcock finales and every evil clown movie ever made. It's fascinating, grotesque and will test the endurance of many a viewer. For the right kind of viewer, it'll be a real thrill.
Of course it's not all slow-mo fighting and clowns wielding machetes. The film is also about the legacy of Franco's regime, forbidden love, and the vanishing art of the circus--all that, and a clown-versus-clown showdown. The Last Circus is stuffed to the brim--with violence, with color, and with plot. Yet, it never feels as schizophrenic as it sounds, effortlessly taking the viewer from 1937 to the early 1970s and the growing relationship between Javier and his acrobatic love interest.
All of the various plot points--from the circus to Franco's soldiers--allows de la Iglesia to indulge in his frankly beautiful visual style. The whole film appears to be decaying before our very eyes, with crumbling structures and desaturated colors, while the compositions are framed like paintings. Even if the idea of warring clowns sounds terrible, de la Iglesia has shot his mad tale beautifully.Read more ›
Here's the scoop. A rebel troop, on the spur of the moment, dragoons a group of circus performers in a battle with government soldiers that is taking place right then and there. Some are killed while others, including a "funny clown," are captured and put to work building a giant cross. The son of said clown sets off dynamite at the work site, taking out the eye of a general and causing the ultimate death of his father. Years later he becomes a "sad clown" in a circus and becomes infatuated with a beautiful female performer who is also the girlfriend of his "happy clown" partner. Said partner beats the girl on a regular basis and our "sad clown" figures he's got to save her. This leads to a real wild ride.
The sight of armed clowns, and other garbed up circus performers, fighting it out with soldiers is as bizarre a sight as you're likely to see in the movies. And that's just the first scene here so you know you're in for it. Though things do calm down a bit after that they are no less strange. The circus performers are an odd lot and seeing the girl put up with the regular physical abuse from her boyfriend is both painful and strange. Is there something wrong with her or is she playing out a repeating scenario with would-be rescuers? Things get increasingly more strange as the story plays out and that's where it lost me.
In the third act things become so surreal I could no longer suspend my disbelief. My guess it was supposed to be this way. No one in their right mind could figure this would be believable, but the purpose escaped me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great and original story along with great direction and acting. If you like different and unusual movies that have dark humor and some violence, you may like this.Published 3 months ago by Agatha Tate
Totally bizarre. Very violent. But not at all predictable. Unforgettable indeed.Published 3 months ago by D. Watts
I expected something more because I purchased this movie based on the great reviews. This is something I would play on the tv. As background for a Halloween party at home. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Crystal
A very well directed tale of the chaos spawned from Franco's Spanish revolution. The acting was superb. Read morePublished 6 months ago by LinuxLizard
Absolutely brilliant!!!! Alex is without any doubt another Felini or Wertmuller!!! All of his movies are top shelf, this one is right up there!Published 7 months ago by afuneguy
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