mercoledì 7 agosto 2013

Old Gringo – Luis Puenzo

un po' un'americanata, Gregory Peck è bravo ad interpretare Ambrose Bierce (chi non lo conosce avrà lo stimolo a leggere qualcosa), la storia è interessante, Luis Puenzo ci mette del suo.
non aspettatevi un capolavoro, ma un film senza infamia e qualche lode -Ismaele

This movie purports to tell the end of cynical journalist Ambrose Bierce (The Devil's Dictionary) but is actually Jane Fonda's coming out party, where she changed her screen portrayals from sex kitten to left wing political activist, more like her father, Henry. She plays opposite Gregory Peck, a man her father's age with similar leftist leanings, who plays Bierce, one of her lovers; and a Mexican peasant revolutionary, Gen. Tomas Arroyo (Jimmy Smits), who is also her lover. 
I was hoping for a good story about Ambrose Bierce, a salty, real life journalist of the late 19th - early 20th century, whose work makes fascinating reading for short periods; But I soon realized this was a Jane Fonda vehicle, which took all of five minutes running time.  I found this movie was not about the Old Gringo, or even the revolution; but Jane Fonda's slowing down her limousine just long enough to secure her bona fides as a credible leftist movie star showing her care for the huddled masses by banging a radical (and smelly) peasant while descended from her lofty pedestal among the elite, just for a moment.

…The title comes from the identity of the old gringo in the movie, a weathered American (Gregory Peck) who walks fearlessly in the midst of battle because he has come to Mexico in search of death.
Harriet Winslow, the Fonda character, encounters him soon after she arrives in Mexico, and gradually comes to love his stoic acceptance and sardonic wit. She does not realize until late in the film that he is, in fact, Ambrose Bierce, the bitter, elusive American author who disappeared in Mexico in 1913 or 1914.
The audience for this movie may never realize who the gringo is - because Bierce, I fear, is little known to most moviegoers, and the screenplay is almost willful in its refusal to explain who the man is or what he accomplished. Under the circumstances, Peck does a manful job of investing Bierce's shadow with character and idiosyncrasy, although Peck, so straight-forward and stalwart, was a strange casting decision (I see Bierce as someone more like Harry Dean Stanton)…

…The movie has an excellent beginning but stalls when it lingers too long in the hacienda. A dance scene lasts as long as the scene of the capture of the hacienda. My initial reaction was that a bit of editing could have greatly improved the movie, but the real problem was the decision to tell a story about a revolutionary leader who becomes what he fought against, rather than take the opportunity to examine the Mexican Revolution from the viewpoint of an outsider. The script needed to be completely rewritten to transform it from a work of art that happens to deal with the revolution into an actual movie on the revolution.
Aside from the script’s structural issues, the two American characters play too big a role. Bierce’s attempt to shock Arroyo back to sanity is well-intentioned, but all of the Mexican actors are confined to two-dimensional supporting roles. The focus on the three leads at the expense of the supporting actors was probably fallout caused by Sony’s purchase of Columbia. The top management was changed, and the new executives had little confidence in a movie about the Mexican Revolution, therefore the length of the movie was shortened…
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