2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2005
If I would have to pick the movie among those I have watched that has the strongest and most gripping start, this one would definitely get the prize. First, we are shocked when we see judge Costa Makantasis (Alterio) falling from a building to his untimely death. This is followed by the image of Ana (Bredice), who has been stabbed to death, being dragged to a car by Pablo Makantasis (Sbaraglia). Then we jump to a scene in which Alejandro Makantasis (Abeles) is gulping pills with alcohol in an effort to end his life, while he burns Ana's photo. Finally, the other brother, Nicolas (Kuzniecka) kills a horse and then burns a tree at a ranch.
I think that it is impossible that after seeing these scenes your curiosity is not piqued. Mine was, and when we start to get more information about what is going on, we are drawn into a complicated mystery full of conspiracies, betrayals, love and a string will to search for the truth. Judge Teller (Roth) is in charge of investigating Ana's murder, and her job becomes increasingly difficult when all three young brothers confess to killing her. The fact that the victim is the daughter of Francisco Muro, a powerful and ruthless man who was a sworn enemy of Costa Makantasis, makes matters even more complicated. Especially since the Makantasis claim that their dad did not commit suicide, but was murdered instead.
A good part of the action is shown in the form of flashbacks, with the brothers remembering the events that lead to the proceedings investigated by Teller. As the mystery starts gaining shape, we also get to see the inner works of a very special family, with strong bonds and plenty of love to spare. The contrast between these scenes and the result, which landed Pablo, Nicolas and Alejandro in jail as suspects in the murder, is gut wrenching. Director Marcelo Piñeyro uses this contrast masterfully; setting a tone that differs considerably from the one we get to see in most mystery thrillers.
Besides the imaginative script, there are other factors that make this an outstanding movie. The cast includes some of the best Argentinean actors, blending together the brightest star of the old generation, Alterio, with the most recognized exponent of the new "guard", Sbaraglia. In between we have the always-inspiring Cecilia Roth, who delivers a solid performance. Those of you that like Argentinean rock will be pleasantly surprised by the score, which includes some of the best songs of the nineties. It was about time this 1997 movie was released on DVD, since a wider audience will now be able to appreciate its quality.
on 13 June 2006
"Cenizas del Paraíso" (1997) is an outstanding Argentinian film that you shouldn't miss. Why? Because it is the kind of movie you don't forget, due to the fact that it has a very good script, a great cast and a director that took those ingredients and knew how to turn them into the kind of movie you just want to watch again.
This film begins with two deaths that deeply affect the Makantasis brothers, Pablo (Leonardo Sbaraglia), Nicolas (Daniel Kuzniecka) and Alejandro (Nicolás Abeles). One of the deceased is their father Costa (Héctor Alterio), a judge that seems to have commited suicide. The other person that died is Nicolas'girlfriend, a beautiful young woman named Ana (Leticia Bredice). The three brothers claim that their father was murdered, and each one of them separately tells the judge that he killed Anna. But is that true? That is what judge Teller (Cecilia Roth) has to find out.
Watching this movie will give you the opportunity to go along with Teller in her investigation, and to get to know a lot more about the Makantasis family and Anna, thanks to many flashbacks that the director (Marcelo Piñeyro) uses to tell what happened.
All in all, I can say that "Cenizas del Paraíso" is many things, but never boring. I strongly recommend it to you...
PS: Pay attention to the score, I am pretty sure you will love many of the songs.