Friday, 6 February 2009

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - Review

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

In a nutshell...
As with Benjamin Button in my last review, Woody Allen falls into two categories for most people, you either like him (and I do) or you loathe him. Over recent years though Woody has broken away from his primary inspiration for his movies, New York, to chart across the Atlantic to experience other cities which has resulted in somewhat of a mixed bag. With his films over the past few years being mainly set in the UK, Mr Allen decided to head for sunnier and greener pastures in Barcelona this time round. Vicky Cristina Barcelona follows the tale of (you guessed it) best chums Vicky and Cristina (played by the beautiful Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson respectively, reuniting them in a film for the second time since 2006 film The Prestige) as they spend the summer in (wow you're all rather good at this, that's right!) Barcelona. Typical of Allen's portrayal of any city he sets his films in, Vicky and Cristina experience the beautiful luxurious side to the city dining in fine restaurants, drinking wine aged to perfection, mixing with the creative elite, which brings us to the male lead of the story Juan Antonio (played with a better haircut than he did in No Country For Old Men, Javier Bardem), who successfully attempts to woo both of the ladies into a crazed passionate affair with sex, booze and Antonio Gaudí architecture.

Though Vicky is engaged to be married to another man the committed but unromantic Doug (Chris Messina), she is always drawn to Juan Antonio though she eventually goes on to distance herself through guilt, this leads to a proper relationship emerging between Cristina and Juan Antonio, which blossoms through once again a lot of passionate sex, elegant booze and mixing with the creative elite. However through events which I shan't disclose for people who actually want to see the film, a string of events brings Juan Antonio's, bunny boiling, psychotic ex-wife María Elena back into the frame (played with utter brilliance by the film's true star Penélope Cruz) which leads to a strange and unique relationship emerging from the three characters in ways that they would never have expected. One of the aspects of this movie I really enjoyed, as with most Allen films, was the witty intelligent dialogue, with a dead panned narrator commentating throughout the film voiced by the mostly unknown Christopher Evan Welch (though for all "20-something" geeks who frequent the blog, he did the voice of Tails in the original Sonic The Hedgehog cartoon, how fucking cool is that!?), set to a backdrop of beautiful quaint side streets and luxurious buildings and high society life that if it was actually always like that, I'd be on the first flight to Barcelona and never come home!

Overall this is probably Woody Allen's best film in years and vastly better than his 2005 Oscar nominated film Match Point. However I will be honest and say this isn't the movie for the blokes to watch and banter about afterwards in the pub, it is very much a well written, witty intelligent romantic comedy for the ladies reading in the blogosphere, lead by an excellent cast and a solid, return to form, from the director. So to summarise if you are are a bloke and want to watch a movie with your mates and share in the experience, go watch The Wrestler, however with Valentine's Day vast approaching and wondering for a film that your lady friend will enjoy and frankly so will you, go see Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Stand Out Scene...
Any scene with
Penélope Cruz is simply wonderful and full of life with a brilliant mixture of comedy and intensity.

Stand Out Quote...
I was in love with the most incredible woman and she put a knife in me- Juan Antonio (he ain't kidding...)

If you liked this go watch...
Allen's best films, Annie Hall, Manhattan and (though critically not his best, my personal favourite) Life and Death. Also, though totally unrelated to this film, Hall and Johansson's first film they appeared together The Prestige.

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