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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Goya's Ghosts

Posted on Thu, Aug 23, 2007 at 4:00 AM

****1/2
Goya's Ghosts
Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rated: R
Cast: Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman
Director: Milos Forman
WorkNameSort: Goya's Ghosts
Our Rating: 4.50
About 70 percent of American critics have leveled such contempt at this film's core competency that you'd think they were reviewing the latest Uwe Boll picture, not the first film in eight years by the director of Amadeus. But I must have seen a different film entirely, one that reminds us of Milos Forman's greatness. Goya's Ghosts is less about the eponymous painter than it is a gripping two-part story of politics and faith during and after the Spanish Inquisition. Much of the story is told through Goya's (Stellan Skarsgård) probing eyes and deaf ears, but he's merely an artist who becomes entangled in the loathsome tricks of an opportunistic monk (Javier Bardem) who imprisons a young woman (Natalie Portman) on the false suspicion that she's Jewish. She confesses to her 'crime� against God, but only after she's tortured by the Cloth. Fans of Goya's art will be left wanting more, as his role is mostly reduced to acting as a documentarian of the times. But those looking for modern political allegory will have a field day, particularly on issues like the torture of terror suspects at Gitmo (the Catholic Church even has its own euphemistic version of 'coerced interrogation techniques�) and the occupation of Iraq.

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