DON'T TEMPT ME (or SIN NOTICIAS DE DIOS in the original) is a sparkling, surreal, humorous, and meaty bit of filmmaking of the type that we have come to expect form the Spanish School of Cinema. Augustin Diaz Yanes both wrote and directed this absorbing parable and has cast it with some of the finest talent from around the globe. His use of smart dialogue, choices of cinematic technique, and rapid fire pacing drives this delicious tale along the paths of Bunuel, Almodovar, etc. The plot: the corporate executives (American profiles of course - though played by British actors like Gemma Jones all speaking in English) of Hell have found a strong need to obtain the soul of a living boxer (Demian Bichir) to join them in Hell. The recruiter Jack (in a terrific performance by the extraordinarily gifted Gael Garcia Bernal) agrees to assign worker Carmen (Penelope Cruz, finally in a role that allows her to demonstrate her broad range of acting skills from drama to comedy) to go to earth to finalize this corporate decision. Meanwhile, in Heaven (quite appropriately filmed in black and white in Paris where the one in charge is Marina d'Angelo played with subtle charm by Fanny Ardant and using French as the language) the elected angel to foster the heavenly admission of the boxer is Victoria Abril (more beautiful than ever and pulling off the heavenly role as a chanteuse with aplomb). Cruz and Abril move in with Bichir, become involved in the struggle over his soul as well as attempting to thwart the results of Bichir's chaotic life as a has-been, in debt boxer. The remainder of the tale is a back and forth pitting of heavenly and Hadean forces and their bungling of both sides of the pitch for Bichir's soul. As the film ends, both the dark and light angels become transiently human, and we learn what their next steps in their respective afterlives might be. Appropriately, this 'comedy' has many dramatic sides, as is requisite for a true comedy. But rest assured with a cast of this caliber and the quality of direction of this surrealistic tale you will be thoroughly entertained. It is refreshing to have a movie move in many languages while it parodies the source countries of each language used to tell a story of good vs evil - and all that jazz!
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