Movie Review: The Lost City

If one is surprised with Joaquin Phoenix singing and playing guitar in “Walk the Line”, one will get more surprised to note that Andy Garcia is also music director for his movie “The Lost City”

(Poster of the movie – source: http://www.newsletter.overdrive.com)

The Plot

Read the details of the plot here

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(The closing scene of the movie where Andy manages to escape to America and opens his own night club)

Storyline

It was reported that it took almost 16 years for this story, written by a Cuban novelist and it deals with Cuba before and after the revolution and the aftermath of it when Fidel Castro takes over the Cuban administration.

The movie was produced, acted, directed and music composed by Andy Garcia and the story gave some glimpses on the old Cuba and the new one after the revolution. Andy Garcia ends up giving up his love life and also his night club in Cuba when his love life becomes a pro-revolution supporter and his night club is deemed to be part of the imperialism. Andy ends up fleeing to the United States to start his life all over again

The storyline is not without its criticism. Humberto Fontova of Newsmax reported:-

The film’s offences are many and varied. Most unforgivable of all, Che Guevara is shown killing people in cold blood. Who ever heard of such nonsense? And just where does this uppity Andy Garcia get the effrontery to portray such things? The man obviously doesn’t know his place.

And just where did Garcia get this preposterous notion of pre-Castro Cuba as a relatively prosperous but politically troubled place, they ask. All the Cubans he portrays seem middle class. Where in his movie is the tsunami of stooped and starving peasants that carried Fidel and Che into Havana on its crest, they ask.

Where are all those diseased and illiterate labourers and peasants my professors, Dan Rather, CNN and Oliver Stone told me about, ask the critics

Whilst the criticism may be valid but if one looks at the story from the rich and middle class point of view, it seems like that they had more to lose when Fidel Castro came in power. Andy for example, loses his key member of his band and later loses the night club itself. When he is leaving the country, his father watch is taken away by Fidel’s comrades.

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(Che Guevara and his pro Fidel Castro revolution comrades emerging from the woods and confronts one of Andy’s younger brother, Ricardo)

Acting

Andy Garcia who is a night club owner is caught between his younger brothers who are keen on a revolution to overthrown the Cuba’s president and dictator, Fulgencio Batista’s and his father who wishes to do the same through democratic ways. Things get worse as Cuba leans towards revolution and Garcia loses his brothers – one dies after a failed attempt to assassinate the President and taking over of the palace and another who leaves the family to be become a Communist fanatic. Andy is the focus of the movie and on how he deals with the problems affecting his night club, his family and the country.

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(Ricardo heart-broken when his uncle dies in front of him and leaves the funeral after crying on the coffin)

Another character that excels in the movie is Andy’s brother, Ricardo who turns a fanatic Communist. The character was well played by Enrique Murciano (who by the way is a Cuba descent).

One of the more touching moment that Enrique truly excels is when Ricardo goes to see his uncle who is landowner of a large tobacco plantation. He firmly informs that the land is now belongs to the revolution. His uncle gets angry and gets a heart attack and dies. Ricardo goes to his uncle’s funeral and cries. He then heads back to the uncle’s plantation and shoots himself in the head.

Another interesting character in the movie is simply known as “The Comedian’ played by Bill Murray. Bill Murray has one the best lines to say in this movie, often in form of sugar coated criticism. Watch out for the line where Bill Murray says that he likes the beginning more than the ending and he gives interesting reasons for it.

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(Plenty of music and dance scenes in this movie – something that Andy could have reduced and be more focussed on the actual storyline)

Music

Andy Garcia is also the music director for the movie and whilst we are not treated to any cinematic, John Williams alike kind of music. However Andy does shines when it comes to Cuban music and the performance in the night club. Accompanying the music is a great mambo dance steps but in this movie, Andy does go overboard with the music and dance. It is nice to hear and see but not when revolution is just around the corner and there are far more important things to worry about.

Final say

The plus points: Unique storyline, the background, cast and cinematography

The negative points: Too little focus on Cuba’s historical events, too much musical / dance scenes

(Click here for other movie reviews)

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