THE LAST CIRCUS (2011)
The Last Circus is the bizarre and twisted story of Javier (Carlos Areces). All Javier wants is to become a clown like his father (Santiago Segura), who was killed during the Spanish Civil War. The sad and unfunny Javier only finds work as the Sad Clown in a local circus in Franco’s Spain of 1973. Even there, his life falls apart as one tragedy is followed by another, as he falls for Natalia (Carolina Bang), the acrobat girlfriend of the violent and abusive star clown Sergio (Antonio de la Torre).
Director and writer Alex de la Iglesia (the cult classic Acción Mutante) weaves this darkly humorous and sometimes extremely violent tale with a very unique and sometimes stunning visual style. He knows how to use his camera and visuals to maximum effect. He also gets good performances out of his cast. What he falls short in, is knowing when enough is enough and cutting his audience a break. All the depressing tragic moments and gory interludes start to get tiresome, about an hour in and by the time the credits role, the audience is too weary to really care how the story ends. On that note, let’s just say not to expect a fairy tale ending, after all you’ve sat through. There is a lot to like about Circus and de la Iglesia’s filming style, but it’s the overall heavy-handedness of his story telling that wears one out. A unique and interesting, if not flawed film.