Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The criticism may be valid, but I still loved the movie, 29 April 2012
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This review is from: Captain Alatriste - The Spanish Musketeer [DVD] (DVD)
I don't particularly like action movies - I prefer historical movies where the action appears when it's necessary, rather than drowning out the plot. So though Alatriste isn't heavy on great battle scenes, I don't really mind. I prefer the various versions of Ivanhoe (with their endless talking) to Gladiator anyway.
As for it being Spanish with subtitles: well, stop giving it 1 star for that and learn to read the info. I personally bought it BECAUSE of the language. I find Spanish to be an immensely beautiful language, I enjoy a movie set outside England, where people don't speak English (we could namedrop Gladiator again as the polar opposite) and I'm keeping the film for when I start learning the language. Until then, I read the subtitles. It can be done.

Now for the main criticism that people have against the movie: it's episodic nature. Yes, it's episodic. Yes, plots appear and are not always wholly resolved. BUT I cannot understand how one can watch it and feel that the movie as such is pointless. For me, it was perfectly clear that it was a "portrait" of sorts: a portrait of a soldier in the Army of Flanders, a portrait of life in the Spain of Philip IV, a portrait of a historical period. And I much preferred this form to the usual Hollywood-plots, because this structure is much more realistic.
For here's the secret that Hollywood never tells you: many of the "plots" in real life ARE never resolved. In Hollywood movies, if you're in love, you'll either win her or perish in a duel or something. Characters always win big or fail completely. And animosities between people are always resolved - by death or reconciliation.
But in real life, that just doesn't happen. Sometimes you hate or love somebody, but rather than there being a great, big, dramatic climax to this situation, you just drift apart or keep each other at arms length untill you're too old to remember anything.
And that is why I like Alatriste: I like it as a portrait of a time and it did not bother me the slightest, that not all the loose ends are closed at the end: for people rarely die without loose ends all over the place. It is episodic in nature, it is also a well-done and beautiful movie and if you know something of the period (I am a historian and I reckognized Olivares and Philip IV before they were named), it is simply marvellous. Also, I found the ending most thrilling, don't agree with the reviewer who said it basically just stops.

EDIT: just to clarify: I have not read the books (but will do as practice when I start learning Spanish), so I cannot comment on whether devotees of the books will feel that a lot of the plots of these are hampered by all being thrown into the same film. I merely state that coming to the story for the first time, I didn't have a problem with the storyline.
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