This lavish, star-studded epic set during the Napoleonic Wars of 1810 chronicles a multitude of characters—soldiers and civilians, men, women and children, young and old—as their everyday lives are torn apart by war.
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Good cinematography (especially camera), historic accuracy, interesting elaboration of some characters. But the film in its entity doesn't work and is dramaturgically weak. Furthermore, the music is often out of place: always the same four or five something pieces used in different situations.
The cinematography and historical representation of events and social dynamics were really good, with some exquisite scenes and landscapes... but I thought that the large ensemble cast, while gathering some impressive names, made it more difficult to create an interesting story arc and build characters that we could actually follow and care about.
One wonders if Ruiz would've directed this material this straight, though I suppose Sarmiento would know better than I.
Still felt that I could've used the dreaminess that characterizes a lot of his other work, would've brought a neat dimension to a generally stodgy genre. The unnaturalness of war colliding with every day life.
There are too many characters to follow, making me feel like this would be a good miniseries. However, beyond that quibble, I think everything else is done fairly well, and it didn't feel quite as long as it actually was.
beautifully shot, directed and acted, with just one flaw. after watching the extremely long 2.5hour film I had no idea what happened in the story. this scenic, rabling film consists of a series of largely disjointed scenes with no coherent plot.