Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition to be so boring

Milos Forman's film, "Goya's Ghosts," has believable costumes by Yvonne Blake. I was raised on, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything." Yvonne Blake designed the costumes for "Three Musketeers" and "Four Musketeers" in the Seventies, and for many other movies since.

"Goya's Ghosts" makes less sense than those flicks with none of the fun. Someone thought he was making an Important Statement. The movie is melodramatic, but we don't get to throw popcorn at the villain.

Stellan Skarsgard in completely unconvincing as the artist Francisco de Goya. He was completely unconvincing as Bootstrap Bill in the second "Pirates of the Caribbean", but at least then he could blame it on the barnacles encrusted all over his face.

The main character of the film is Lorenzo, a monk of the Spanish Inquisition, and later an obnoxious Napoleonic prosecutor with good hair. Lorenzo is played by Javier Bardem, who looks to be the psychopathic brother of Tom Jones. I expected him to burst into song in the dungeon with, "It's not unusual to be raped by creepy monks..."

Lorenzo's speech is slower than that of Andre the Giant playing Fezzik in "The Princess Bride." I very much wanted Mandy Patinkin to pop onto the scene to start repeating, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father prepare to die. "

You will leave the movie with less understanding of the Inquisition and the Napoleonic Era than when you entered, and no insights into the art of Goya. You will not be transported by cinematic beauty as you were in "Girl With Pearl Earring." You won't have a sense of Spain as you would listening to "Carmen". You won't ponder genius or evil as you do every time you watch "Amadeus." It's possible you might remember times when you wanted to hang a dinner guest from the chandelier. You might imagine the worst that could happen when Darth Cheney takes over during Dubya's colonoscopy. You may be reminded to make an appointment for a dental check-up.

My plan for the rest of the afternoon is a better understanding of the French Revolution through Poulenc's "Dialogues des Carmélites."

© 2007 Nancy L. Ruder

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