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GOYA'S GHOSTS - 2007

SELECT ANOTHER FLICK CHICK MOVIE REVIEW FROM THE FILM CRITICS IN BLUE
J. ThorburnV. AlexanderPolly Peluso
Shannon OnstotJacqueline M

SHANNON ONSTOT

Shannon OnstotGOYA'S GHOSTS

By
Shannon Onstot
Community Relations Manager
KUNV 91.5 FM
University of Nevada Las Vegas
email:
smonstot@yahoo.com

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil  

I usually love films that challenge my beliefs, and make it hard to decide on who is the protagonist; Goya’s Ghosts does just that, and also brought up some very interesting questions regarding religion, war, and the purpose of art. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help thinking throughout the whole film that something was missing, and despite a few good performances, most of the characters seemed vacant and dull.

It is 1792, and Francisco Goya’s (Stellan Skarsgard) paintings and etchings have been challenged by the Catholic Church’s inquisition. Goya is official painter to King Carlos IV (Randy Quaid) and Brother Lorenzo (Javier Bardem), a corrupt man who appreciates Goya’s work, convinces the head of the church that the grotesque images can help instill the fear of God to those who buy them.

Brother Lorenzo pays Goya to paint his portrait, and the two of them strike up an odd friendship, they joke with each other, but there is always tension in the air – especially when Lorenzo asks about one of his models. Inez Bilbatua (Natalie Portman) is the young daughter of a wealthy merchant, and she is often the subject of Goya’s work. In fact, Lorenzo recognizes her instantly as an angel painted on the ceiling of the church.

After Lorenzo finds out who she is, Inez is summoned by the Inquisition because she was witnessed refusing to eat pork one night when she was at the tavern with her brothers. The church’s spies turn her in because her refusal to eat pork obviously means that she is practicing Judaism. She tells her questioner, Brother Lorenzo, that she does not and has never practiced Judaism. He tortures her until she is forced to sign a confession and she is put in jail.

Because Goya is a friend of her family, and of Brother Lorenzo, he introduces Inez’s father to Lorenzo so that they can find out what happened to the girl. Inez’s father becomes enraged when he finds out that his daughter was tortured into confession, so to show Lorenzo that torture will make even those with the strongest faith confess, he puts Lorenzo to the same torture his daughter faced and forces him to confess and sign to being the bastard son of a monkey.

Cut to 15 years later, in the height of the French Revolution and France’s invasion of Spain: Inez is still in prison, Goya has gone deaf and is at the height of his career, and Brother Lorenzo is hiding in France after he was expelled from the church. When Inez is released, she goes to Goya for help and he finds out what really happened when she was put in jail.

I really enjoyed the storyline of this film, no matter how shocking and heart wrenching it became. While the story of Goya’s life was inconsequential and inaccurate, I thought that the stories of Inez and Brother Lorenzo were very well written and interesting inspired historical fiction. Goya acts not as a main character so much, but as a catalyst for a series of events that spiral out of his control. He is always neutral, clueless and non-threatening, an interesting compliment to Inez and Lorenzo who represent the good and evil ends of the film’s moral compass.

While I really liked the storyline and the ideas that it explored about the role of art when it comes to war and religion, I thought that it was choppy and poorly directed (by Milos Forman). In the beginning, there were a lot of unnecessary scenes and extra storylines that were distracting and muddled the plot. It didn’t help that many of the characters were completely expressionless and had no real relatable characteristics at all, especially Goya. Portman and Bardem were the only stand-out actors in the whole film, and Bardem in particular did a fabulous job of making me question whether or not he was really all that evil, and it forced me to pity him even though the audience is supposed to hate him.

The richness of Goya’s paintings and the stories of Inez and Lorenzo really saved this film from being completely unbearable and contrived. Still, the choppy beginning and bland acting from most of the cast could have made the film completely forgettable, but Portman’s haunting performance and Bardem’s moral dilemma made it more complex. This film is not for those who appreciate accurate historical films, but again, it was an interesting interpretation of Goya’s work, the French Revolution and the Spanish Inquisition.

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil
Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil  

SELECT ANOTHER FLICK CHICK MOVIE REVIEW FROM THE FILM CRITICS IN BLUE
J. ThorburnV. AlexanderPolly Peluso
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