The Lost City (2006)

Genre(s): Drama / Romance
Magnolia || R - 143 minutes - $26.98 || August 8, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-08-08


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Andy Garcia
Writer(s): G. Cabrera Infante (written by)
Cast: Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Ines Sastre


Theatrical Release Date: April 28, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Actor/Director, Actor & Production Designer Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
  • The Making of The Lost City
  • DVD Introduction by Andy Garcia
  • Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery
  • Notes from the Cast and Crew


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot Outline (from DVD back cover): Havana in 1958 is a place of pleasure for many, but others are not happy under the rule of Dictator Fulgencio Batista. As the revolutionary forces of Fidel Castro and Enesto Guevara prepare to move on the city, Fico Fellove, owner of the cityís classiest music nightclub El Tropico, struggles to hold together his family and the love of a woman. Observing all is the Comedian/Writer, an expatriate American who sees his friend Fico being drawn into events as the revolution changes everything. Though Fico watches a culture vanish and a people transformed, it is his love of Cuban music that keeps his memories alive.

ďHavana is very much like a rose: it has peddles, it has thorns, so it depends on how you grab it. In the end, it always grabs you.Ē

Itís obvious from the beginning, and without knowing anything about this film, that The Lost City is a labor of love for actor/director Andy Garcia. Point in fact, the native Cuban left Cuba at the age of five and for the last 16 years, has been putting this project together. It is that, that makes The Lost City, a good movie, a movie with heart and a soul.

The biggest flaw isnít exactly one that could be helped. As a director, Garcia focuses on his character, Fico, as the perspective showing the change that happens from 1958 when Batista leaves the country and Fidel Castro moves in, as the people hope for change. But what are they changing from? Garcia shows us that the Cuban people are angry with Batista, but why? For those from this culture, for which I presume Garcia primarily this film in tribute to and for, but as a 26-year-old who knows very little about how Castro came to power, I wanted to know more.

Now, what is richly covered is Castroís iron fist, taking away the peopleís rights (from using a saxophone to taking away private property), and indirectly, taking away Ficoís true love, Aurora Fellove, widowed wife of his brother who died for his country, for a revolution. However, the revolutionaries use Aurora as the ďWidow of the RevolutionĒ and thus Fico, with a rightfully cynical view on the Castro dictatorship, is torn away from the woman he fell in love with.

Making the film better than it probably deserved to be, are performances from Bill Murray, as a nameless comedian who pops in and out throughout and the lovely Ines Sastre, who makes her American film debut. It should be noted that despite getting his name on the DVD cover, Dustin Hoffman barely appears in only 10-minutes, half in the beginning, and half conveniently towards the end, as he plays Cuban mob boss Meyer Lansky.

The Lost City isnít well put together and seems to want to be an epic of sorts with such a long runtime at 143 minutes, but it is that love for the material that takes this from a dull mess to something that actually reaches the heart, Cuban or not. You will no doubt also enjoy the film as Garcia injects a soundtrack full of Cuban music, ideal to particular scenes, though, for me, not real effective.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Despite a limited release and poor critical reviews, Andy Garcia puts together a decent amount of features, giving insight into The Lost City.

Director/Actor, Actor & Production Designer Commentary - Andy Garcia is joined by his co-star Nestor Carbonell (Luis Fellove) and production designer, Waldemar Kalinowski. The trio keep much of the chatter on topic and serious, so for those who enjoy the technical commentaries, this is the one for you. However, for others, itís still informative and gives some more insight into details about set locations and the short time period they had to shoot.

Deleted Scenes (12:37) - There are 10 deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary from Garcia and company, which they donít really go into much detail other than that scenes were cut for pacing and what not.

The Making of The Lost City (37:53) - A fairly comprehensive look at how the film was made and the long journey it took since Andy Garcia first wanted to make it 16 years ago. Garcia acts as host talking in his office about all these things, with inter-cuts of the different subjects like Bill Murray and Dustin Hoffman taking these smallish parts or using the Dominican Republicís palace for Cubaís own.

DVD Introduction (0:44) - Basically, a Cliff Noteís of the Making-Of and commentary as Garcia briefly explains why he wanted to make this film and the place the music has intertwined with plot.

Also included are: Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery, Notes from Cast & Crew, Original The Lost City Poster Art and Fellove/Fuente Cigars notes.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 1.78 aspect ratio. Though nothing outstanding or grand in scope, Garcia seems to have a good eye and shows off the turbulent Cuba nicely.

While the picture is fine, I was disappointed in the sound department. You have the choice of English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 mixes and although the 5.1 track is better, I didnít sense much depth whether it was dialogue or the music which is so prominent.



.::OVERALL::.

The Lost City is certainly an ambitious film from actor/director Andy Garcia and while it has some flaws with story and pacing, the heart and soul from Garcia and others that overcomes those elements. Lost City is, at times, moving and the Cuban music flows with the story and helps build the emotional turmoil Garcia must have for his native land.