It's a struggle not just to make art but to exist, which is itself an art. And to that goal, the cast members, led by the astonishing Bardem, allow themselves to be devoured by the roles they are playing.
This could have been a compelling movie about a wonderful writer, but instead it's a tedious, pointless mess. After spending over 2 hours with Arenas, I still knew nothing about him. Javier Bardem's great performance seemed to be a complete waste.
Clearly this is Bardem's show. And Bardem walks away with it.
June 21, 2007
Schabel's most recent work fails to move me. While the story of Reinaldo Arenas is tragic enough to be interesting (and Javier Bardem's performance sympathetic) the film as a whole simply seems long and indulgent.
"Before Night Falls" exuberantly portrays a writer whose legacy remains an acutely observant childhood spirit that no perversion of politics could break. Javier Bardem blends the swagger of Robert Downey Jr. and the brooding of a young Al Pacino.