|GOYA'S GHOSTS (director/writer: Milos Forman; screenwriter: Jean-Claude Carrière; cinematographer: Javier Aguirresarobe; editor: Adam Boome; music: Varhan Bauer; cast: Javier Bardem (Brother Lorenzo), Stellan Skarsgård (Goya), Natalie Portman (Ines), Jose Luis Gomez (Tomas Bilbatua), Randy Quaid (King Carlos IV), Michael Lonsdale (Grand Inquisitor), Blanca Portillo (Queen Maria Luisa); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Saul Zaentz; Warner Brothers; 2006)|
|"A ridiculous biopic of the
great Spanish artist."
by Dennis Schwartz
An ambitious and original story
but nevertheless a ridiculous biopic of the great
Spanish artist for the rich and famous,
Francisco Goya (Stellan Skarsgård), leaving him
mostly as an observer of events. It's directed
as if the Czechoslovakia-born Milos
Forman ("Man on the
Moon"/"Amadeus"/"Taking Off") had a brain drain.
It is co-written by Forman and Jean-Claude
The story is set during the last days of the Inquisition, during the reign of King Carlos IV (Randy Quaid), the rise of Napoleon and the onset of the French Revolution.
The soft-spoken Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem) is the conflicted soul who believes Christianity suffers because the Inquisition has recently grown lax and he urges a return to more tortures, while at the same time, at a 1792 conclave of Spanish clergy, that includes the Inquisitor General (Michael Lonsdale), voices approval of Goya's “Caprichos” etchings as not heretical as questioned by the others.
pic's intensity rises as Ines (Natalie Portman), the
model and muse for Goya, is imprisoned on questionable
charges for ‘Judaising. Meanwhile her wealthy
family rallies in her support and asks Brother Lorenzo
for help after torturing him, who instead impregnates
the glassy-eyed mentally tortured vic.
pic's ambition was to show how living in a
totalitarian state corrupts everybody, even a
principled man such as Brother Lorenzo. Problem is
if Brother Lorenzo is supposed to
deserve our sympathy over his right and wrong
religious conflict, that part of the deal never
convincingly came across. While Goya comes across as a
shallow stylish crafty painter of ferocious scenes,
who covets the support of royalty more than he cares
about the vics of the Inquisition.
The gory pic left a bad impression, as it fails to do right by the artist or clearly report on the tumultuous times it depicts.
REVIEWED ON 1/17/2014 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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