Monday, July 23, 2007

Absolutely Atrocious: Goya's Ghosts

Goya's Ghosts
Directed by Milos Forman
Released July 20, 2007

From the opening minute, I knew I had gone wrong choosing to see this film. It instantly brought to mind two other recent filmic disasters: "All the King's Men" and "Copying Beethoven". Like "All the King's Men", it is a film from a brilliant Oscar-winning director ("One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest") and a stellar cast including Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, and Stellan Skarsgard. And like "All the King's Men", the resulting film and ensemble performance is unfathomably bad. Like the little-seen "Copying Beethoven", the period setting makes all the action come off as corny and dumb, and the title character (Goya in this case) is eccentric and jolly to a point of irreversible annoyance.

All three stars are tragically terrible. Bardem, like Penelope Cruz, seems to be one of those actors who is much better in his native language. Portman's charm is ineffective and she is way too cheery and naive for her own good. Skarsgard, as I mentioned earlier, is dumb and overly energetic. To do justice to these great actors, watch "The Sea Inside", "Garden State", and "Good Will Hunting". And just to top it off, Randy Quaid as the king of Spain? Please! Definitely skip this film. It is full of disturbing images and off-putting scenes for no apparent purpose. It drags despite showcasing very few actual plot developments. I should have known from the development hell this film went through (it was originally slated for release last year) that it was a huge misstep for all involved. Worst of the year to this point.



Anonymous said...

I liked the film but that is not relevant to my main point.

Javier Bardem was nominated for an Oscar for a role where he acted mainly in English (Before Night Falls) and he will probably be nominated for another English speaking role (No Country for Old Men). I don't care if you like the film but the man can certainly act in English.

Movies with Abe said...

I have not yet seen "Before Night Falls" and I did not know his performance was in English. I was simply presuming based on the two films I had seen with Bardem. Regardless of that, his performance in this film was not great, much like that of Sean Penn in "All the King's Men": a great actor in a truly unfortunate role.