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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

LA CIUDAD DE LOS PRODIGIOS (1999)

A big, churning potboiler about a country kid (Olivier Martinez) who comes to Barcelona in the late-1800s to work hard & seek his fortune. But all he finds is closed doors & injustice. Squeezed on all sides, he hands out illegal pamphlets for Anarchists; narrowly escapes a firing squad; turns apolitical as an enforcer for corrupt/reactionary city politicos; consolidates the underworld factions under his own command & winds up marrying the beautiful daughter of his ex-boss. But is he content? No. He still pines for the only girl he ever loved . . . and lost. Raping her on the very night she was planning to give herself up to him! Now, she hates him almost as much as the politically powerful rivals who are trying to gun him down, or her revenge-seeking/cross-dressing papa!! It’s as if Jackie Collins had written the three GODFATHER scripts on a commission from TeleMundo. Ludicrous as it undoubtedly is, it’s also rather fun once you get a handle on who’s who & what’s what. Not so easy to do under the hand of megger Mario Camus who’s more interested in following the stylistic tics of Coppola & Leone rather than following the storyline.

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