Manolete (2008)

MENNO MEYJES

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

Alternate title:  Blood & Passion, A Matador’s Mistress, The Passion Within

Spain/United Kingdom/France/USA/Germany, 2008.  Iberoamericana Films Producción, Future Films, Manolete Productions, Quinta Communications, Pierce/Williams Entertainment, e-m-s new media, Trivisión S.L., Televisión Española, Canal+ España, Ministerio de Cultura, Ciudad de la Luz.  Screenplay by Menno Meyjes.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Weak attempt at a film biopic of famous bullfighter Manuel Sanchez, starring a miscast Adrien Brody as the torero and Penelope Cruz as the woman blamed for his downfall. Nationally famous for his skills at taking out his four-legged opponents in the ring, Manolete is bewitched by Lupe (Cruz) and begins to romance her despite opposition from his friends and family: she is low-class, not particularly virginal and has no interest in being liked by anyone but him. The two of them are passionate for each other, and as his devotion to her grows, his devotion to his sport declines, and as their romance turns rocky his success begins to wane. A richer, epic treatment would have done more for the proceedings here; instead we get a quickie little potboiler (whose end product is apparently the result of massive studio interference), with dialogue annoyingly delivered in accented English and the period details laid on thick enough to come off melodramatic.

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