Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: "The Last Circus" (2011)

Beginning with company credits synchronized to the outbursts of children's laughter, the first few minutes are the last you'll hear of it during the course of the enraged, coercive "The Last Circus," a title fit for this deliriously-pitched, intermittently sly big top bloodbath. 
An oafish, rotund clown named Javier (Carlos Areces) is new to the circus, led by an alcoholic sadomasochist clown named Sergio (Antonio de la Torre), and seemingly overnight, the two become pitted in a lustful battle for the affections of a beautiful aerialist named Natalia (the gorgeous, distractingly buxom Carolina Bang.)
But this is no "Trapeze" or "The Greatest Show on Earth" (though I think director Alex de la Iglesia could make a case for the latter), this is a twisted, brutal tragicomic romantic triangle about two disturbingly unbalanced men and their quizzically ironic professions. "If I wasn't a clown, I'd be a murderer," Sergio plainly admits to Javier during his interview, "me too," he replies. 
And so the madness ensues not too shortly thereafter, with all manner of self-mutilations, underlying political unrest and full-costume gun-toting clown-on-clown theatrics, right down to its gloriously high-altitude climax. For too long, de la Iglesia allows the film to wallow in a fit of lunacy, but his final shot is so bitterly poignant that all is nearly forgotten. [B]

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