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Lines of Wellington
Valeria Sarmiento Portugal, 2012
The onslaught of the “Jacobins” is seen with the gimlet eye it requires — too often, the slaughter at Napoleon’s hands has been depicted as heroic, a canard Ruiz, Sarmiento, and screenwriter Carlos Saboga have no truck with. Here, summary execution, even off-handedly of horses and infants, is de rigueur.
December 24, 2014
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With its awkward piling-on of situations and secondary (and tertiary, and quarternary…) characters, its miasma of languages and accents, and its interminable historical pantomiming, Lines of Wellington devolves into a throwback to nineties euro-pudding, or even the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink DiLaurentiis-esque coproduction extravaganzas of the sixties. Much of the blame for it lies with Ruiz’s production model.
October 10, 2012
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It often plays like a failed imitation of the late auteur [Raul Ruiz], with the same hypnotically lengthy camera moves and embrace of both high and low cultural references, yet absent any animating spirit.
October 01, 2012
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It looks like we’re in Ruiz territory, with its leaf-on-the-wind approach to collating multiple storylines, and there’s at least the insinuation that each thread is rife with Ruizian coincidence, but Sarmiento’s direction is no more distinguished than if this was a Game of Thrones episode. Less Spielberg, more Bruce Beresford.
September 27, 2012
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The stolid cinema de qualité pageant that resulted turned out to be the antithesis of Ruiz’s sublimely slippery camera, a drugged elephant dragging itself across the screen, connecting dot-like characters and stopping dead in its tracks to make room for whatever star had dropped by producer Paulo Branco’s office.
September 22, 2012
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Sarmiento—Ruiz’s editor but also an experienced director in her own right—weaves gracefully betwixt and between soldiers and civilians on all sides, rich and poor, men and women, even the living and the dead. Showing in San Sebastian as a three part, 170-minute miniseries, it remains a fine, rich, humanist tapestry in the two-and-a-half-hour theatrical cut.
September 01, 2012
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