I watched Woody Allen’s latest movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona tonight and have to say that I liked it quite a lot. While it’s not nearly as good as Match Point, which I absolutely loved, in many ways it’s a classic Woody Allen movie and very entertaining at that.
Much has been written about Penélope Cruz in the role of the ex-wife Maria Elena and there’s little that can be added aside from saying that it’s an absolutely breathtaking performance. It’s been suggested that Cruz should be nominated for an Oscar and I certainly think that her performance would merit one of the little golden statues.
Javier Bardem performance as the irresistible artist Juan Antonio is also top-notch. All throughout the movie I tried to remember where I had previously seen him but it took a visit to IMDB to see that it was Mar adentro. In that movie, one of the secret gems which I saw in 2005 and on some level one of the most touching films I’ve ever seen, he plays a quadriplegic fighting for euthanasia and the right to end his own life. Both times he brings an amazing energy and astounding depth of character representation to the big screen.
Rebecca Hall, a very young actress, plays the role of Vicky and does a very good job at it. (Looking at her IMDB profile I discovered that she’s going to on the screen again in late 2009 as part of Dorian Gray. Having liked the book when I read it some years ago I’ll try and see the movie when it hits the cinemas.)
Scarlett Johansson, who I absolutely loved in Lost in Translation, as Cristina on the other hand is somewhat of a disappointment. Her performance remains shallow and I can’t help myself feeling that it’s the 4th time that I’m seeing Johansson play the same character on a different set. I can’t quite pinpoint it but it seems to be that she’s always being cast for portraying a young woman who’s somehow not really quite sure what to do with herself and has a feeling of not fitting in with her environment.
At the end of the day it’s really simple: If you liked previous Woody Allen movies you should go and see Vicky Cristina Barcelona as it’s a good fun and one of the best movies that is currently in the cinemas (here in Austria that is). If you’ve never liked Woody Allen then you’ll probably also don’t like this one…