...and falls on his face. But very artistically: This is a mighty pretty movie. THE DANCER AND THE THIEF (El baile de la Victoria) is also the one full-fledged clunker of the Spanish Cinema Now series. Why? Let me count the ways. Its mash-up of genres -- the way it conflates the prison movie with the heist movie with the thriller with the romance with -- yes! -- Flashdance with the hostage film, with National Velvet is, well, unusual, to say the least. That almost none of this makes good sense, let alone works as cinema, is bizarre enough. Eventually, it almost seems as though the co-writer and director Fernando Trueba had so many stories and plot strands to work out that he decided, if he just kept going, things would somehow find closure. But no: They just get screwier. And while this approach makes the movie a very long haul, it does not help it coalesce.
|I could detail the plot for you, as certain reviewers never fail to do, but I swear, you would only say, "What?" So I will just note that the film leaps off from a day in Chile (rather than, as I had formerly stated, Spain: thanks Patrick, for your comment, below) where some sort of prison "amnes-|
ty" is given, in which certain prisoners, figured to be non-
violent and who have served a portion of their term, are released. Ricardo Darin (shown above, right, and bottom, left), the fine Argen-
tine actor, plays one of these: a world-famous safe-cracker. Ano-
ther young man, Ángel (called "Cupid" by the prison staff, played by the cute, round-faced actor Abel Ayala, shown just above) who has evidently been raped by the prison warden, is also released. Do their paths cross again on the outside, along with that of the warden? Ah, you've seen a few movies in your day!