Carla's Song (Director's Cut) [DVD]
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A director's cut of Ken Loach's drama. George (Robert Carlyle) is a bus driver in Glasgow who befriends fare dodger Carla (Oyanka Cabezas). After he finds her somewhere to live, she tells him that she is a refugee from war-torn Nicaragua. As he gradually falls in love with Carla, he arranges to travel with her to Managua in search of her lost boyfriend, Antonio - but this is 1987 and the Contra rebels are about to stage their final, lethal assault on the Sandinista Government.
Paul Laverty drew on his experiences as a lawyer working with human rights groups in Nicaragua in writing the script for Carla's Song, which stars Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting) as George, a Glasgow bus driver. Attracted to Carla (Oyanka Cabezas), a beautiful but impoverished Nicaraguan woman who often rides his bus, he sometimes allows her to ride for free--and is fired as a result. But he keeps in touch with Carla, helping her find a place to live in a spare room of a friend's apartment after learning that she's become detached from a dance troupe, forcing her to dance in the streets of Glasgow for meager remuneration. As they continue to see each other, George finds that Carla is subject to drastic mood swings, a result of her Sandinista boyfriend, Antonio (Richard Loza), having been captured by the Contras. Realizing that nothing will be resolved until Carla discovers the truth about Antonio, George agrees to accompany her to Nicaragua to try to find him. Carlyle is typically excellent in this film by hard-hitting English filmmaker Ken Loach, who is known for casting an unswerving eye on complex political and human rights issues.
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Top Customer Reviews
Loach does something on screen that I've never seen any other director do. He manages to get performances so realistic that you feel compelled to stay tuned to see what happens - a bit like a soap opera, but good. You genuinely feel for the characters and believe that they exist - this is especially important for a Loach film as they tend to be politically charged - and the people involved HAVE to feel real in order for the politics to matter.
The first part of this film is set in Glasgow and shows how the Jack-the-lad bus driver George lets an exotic looking passenger (Carla) escape from his bus after she is shouted down by a ticket inspector. She snook onto the bus and has no ticket, George defends her and pays the 40p himself for her a ticket.
She later sees him and thanks him, she even gives him a present for his act of kindness. From that moment on George is intrigued by her and through his persistence they start to develop a friendship. George even `borrows' his bus for a romantic walk in the Scottish countryside.
Robert Carlisle is nothing short of fantastic in this film. His natural charisma helps carry the character of George, and he portrays all the frustration and anger the character has in a touching way.
Carla's suicide attempt, post-traumatic stress, and knowledge that she has a difficult past help George build a strong protective instinct for her. They become lovers and then the film takes a dramatic cinematic shift.
The rest of the film is based in Nicaragua where revolution is all around and Carla must face her demons.Read more ›
The film is a rather flimsy story of love between a rebellious Glasgow bus driver, played by Robert Carlyle, and Carla a Nicaraguan woman trying to escape from the horrors of her past. The two slowly try to build a relationship, but this is constantly hampered by Carla's past experiences. I am reminded of words from the Bob Dylan song "Tangled up in Blue". "Then all the while I was alone, the past was close behind". Carlyle decides that the only way to excise the demons is to take Carla back to her homeland, and try to find the answers to haunting questions. This puts them into the danger zone as they seek Carla's family and an old lover. We head to a bittersweet finale. Will true love win the day?
As a love story the film does not quite work for me. The relationship is a little contrived and unlikely. The story itself lacks any real structure and is just a means for Loach to fall back on his common themes of politics gone sour, and mans inhumanity to man. Robert Carlyle is excellent in the lead role. That solid American actor Scott Glenn turns up improbably in the guise of an ex CIA man now batting for the other side.Read more ›
Carlyle and Cabezas (who is from Nicaragua and a dancer) are both superb in the main roles and, as always, Ken Loach produces a gem of a film that is fresh, original, mature, intelligent and dramatic. The film was made not long after the conflict so the scenes shot in Nicaragua have an authentic feel about them and Loach stages the scenes there brilliantly. Films of this quality made from a left wing perspective are difficult to make as film companies are not usually keen to fund such projects and tend to stick with familiar tried and tested themes which is maybe why so many films made these days are unoriginal, predictable and bland but this seems to be what the public wants which I think is a pretty sad state of affairs.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a great story I would recommend it to everyone. One of the best films I have seen in many a year.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Absolutely brilliant no probs with discs excellent & prompt service as 4 the film u have 2 see it I enjoyed it but then again I haven't seen Robert Carlyle in any bad films... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Pen Name