Malkovich’s directorial debut, police captain Rejas (Javier Bardem) is
after a secretive revolutionary, known as Ezequiel (Malkovich), who is
causing random acts of violence and murder throughout an unnamed Latin
American country. Rejas is a
seemingly phlegmatic head of a police squad assigned the task of finding
Ezequiel. Despite a wife and a
daughter, he gets the hots for his daughter’s mysterious ballet teacher,
Yolanda (Laura Morante), which leads to complications for Rejas.
Rejas and his boss, who gives him a free rein to look for Ezequiel,
are under pressure from the Presidente’s aide to find Ezequiel and turn
him in quietly so he can be quickly eliminated.
When Rejas doesn’t produce quick results, conflict arises between
him and his boss, and the Presidente’s people.
One of the ladies
accompanying me to the film leaned over when Bardem, who reminded me of Raul
Julia, first appeared on the screen and whispered, “That’s a cute guy.”
Another said, "Javier Bardem is much more
than just 'a
cute guy' or mere visual candy ... he oozes sensuality, controlled
intensity, intelligence and purpose --- a mighty powerful combo!"
So I guess women will like this a lot because he’s onscreen almost
the entire film.
Although the film
starts deliberately and proceeds at a leisurely speed, the tension slowly
builds throughout its two hour eight minute running time.
It held my interest because I was never quite sure where it was
heading. I rate it an 8, but it would have been a 9 but for an unnecessary
final few minutes of Directorial Conceit that left me walking out of the
theater less enthralled than I would have been had the movie ended a few
May 10, 2003