Irish Film Institute -Alatriste


Director: Agustin Diaz Yanes

Spain| 2006. Subtitled. Colour. Dolby Digital Stereo. 135 min

Based on Arturo Perez-Reverte’s best-selling series of novels, Alatriste is an epic swashbuckler set in the early 17th century when courtly corruption was signalling the downfall of Spain’s global empire. Viggo Mortensen plays Alastriste, a noble soldier of very few words and very large actions. As the film begins, he’s battling for the Spanish Crown in Flanders. On returning to a much-changed Spain, he begins working as a hired swordsman. The country is ruled by a feeble monarch, and the fraudulent upperclass, whose opulent lifestyle polarises the nation, subjects the common people to lives of misery. Against this backdrop, Alatriste is a singular figure: unassuming, noble in spirit, a warrior to the last. And yet we also witness his softer, more vulnerable side through his lifelong affair with the famous actress Maria de Castro (Ariadna Gil). Diaz Yanes perhaps tries to cram in too much material from the novels, but his film is impressively mounted on a large scale. The painterly visuals make constant reference to the chilly beauty of Spain’s great artist Diego Velazquez.

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