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on 18 May 2012
Opening with childrens laughter, as two clowns perform. Beautifully lit giving the proceedings a cartoonish feel. A hit of reality( set in the time period of Spanish civil war). The whole circus is drafted into the conflict( bearded lady excluded). The clown( in full costume and makeup) running into battle machete in hand slashing wildly at his enemies. From cartoonish via surreal to brutal. And this is only the set up for the story to unfold.

Alex de la iglesia's film is a tale of revenge, tangled relationships old and new and their consequences personal and political over a 25ish period of time. It displays all his qualities as film maker. Brutal, surreal,cartoonish,funny.

Along with the director the actors do a first rate job( no matter how big or small their role may be) in creating a believable world for them to inhabit, interact and play out the drama.

A director who deserves to have more recognition than he has at the present
time.

Recommended viewing for people who want a bit more individuality than the standard Hollywood / commercial model.
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on 21 December 2015
Move over Del Toro ... your place in my heart has been usurped by the wonderfully talented de la Iglesia.
I have previously seen and enjoyed Day of the Beast, Accion Mutante and the frankly terrifying The Baby's Room (part of the Six Films to Keep You Awake box set) but this film ... my god! So beautiful! It begins in grimy black & white, then begins to add spots of red here and there, expands into colour and proceeds to change all the way through.
Ultamately a tragic love story, encompassing themes of war, being different and how, no matter how much you might want to, you cannot live someone else's life for them. De la Iglasia's trademark black humour is thrown over the whole thing, as usual, but it's not a comedy by any stretch of the imagination.
Special effects were awesome – and that's not a word I use lightly. Amazing characters, astounding performances ... just bloody amazing.
If you consider yourself a fan of cinema, you HAVE to see this!!!!!
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on 25 January 2013
Worth more than 5 stars. Wonderful entertainment told by an excellent cast of a superb story. The brutality of the Spanish Civil War leading to the corrupting of lives and effects of brutalisation on one's future life are told brilliantly. a real weepy at the end. Cannot praise it enough.
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on 3 July 2012
Having admired and enjoyed a lot of Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia's previous movies (especially Ferpect Crime, 800 bullets and La Comunidad), I found this last film of him to be very disappointing. The movie starts with a brief prologue during the Spanish civil war, but then moves on to 1973: it's basically about a newcomer clown to a pathetic circus who arouses the jealousy of the dangerously crazy head clown who thinks he might be after his not too bright woman. The fights between them will increasingly become more violent and grotesque. Since I don't recall their names right now, I call the three main characters in the movie, Sad Clown, Psycho Clown and Dumb Girl. Psycho Clown constantly beats Dumb Girl, but this is played for laughs in the movie which makes me wonder why the director thinks that domestic violence is funny. All three protagonists are extremely unlikable, almost repulsive, so we could not care less of what happens to them. Several aspects of Spanish 20th century history serve as backdrop to the action here but they don't add anything to the film, they seem gratuitous additions. (As an aside, chronologically, the movie doesn't add up: Sad Clown was a child around of around 10 in the 1930s, so he must be in his late forties in the second part of the movie, yet he looks like he is still in his twenties). Worst, Alex is copying himself: The idea of two rival comedians fighting each other like mad against a backdrop of recent Spanish history was already in Muertos de Miedo, which was not his best film but is much better than this (and with better actors, another problem of this movie is the poor acting, with the exception of the guy playing Psycho Clown). As in that movie, there are references to Spanish customs and popular culture of the 1970s (movies, TV shows, etc) that are probably moving to the director (who was a child during that time) but that left me and I suppose many other viewers cold. And as in Ferpect Crime, the movie ends in a homage to Hitchcock (which by now is a cliché among cinephile directors). So, in summary, I can't really recommend this, despite the expectations I had seeing this.
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on 28 December 2012
I did not realise I would not be able to play this dvd on a stan dard player. I have not returned it because the postage was going to be more tha half the cost of the dvd - so I am puttin g it in the bin!!
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on 7 March 2015
Wrong format not working on uk
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