I have always found foreign films to be something of an acquired taste. There are stories that are so interesting that you cannot help but want to watch, there are images that are either so original or so stunning that you just have to watch play out, and then there are those that fit into a niche that you follow and watch out of fan-dom. There Be Dragons is a story, that truthfully I know nothing about. Granted it is not a "true story" and the fact that it is "Based on a true event" is something that so many story tellers and filmmakers use today that it's almost become a bit of a joke, however this is anything but a joke.
The story is told with such passion that you cannot help but feel for all those involved. I'm not just saying this because it's being told during a time of war, but because each and every character is brought to life and they literally jump off the screen at you. In addition to the beautiful story, the cinematography is something I've never seen before. I have gotten used to spanish cinematographers and their unique filming styles, but Gabriel Beristain takes it to a whole new level. With sweeping shots, original camera placement used to very distinctly tell you exactly who you would be focusing on, to transitions between time and place that move you through the film in such a way that it will literally take your breathe away if you truly understand and appreciate all of the work and effort that goes into making a film like this.
There Be Dragons transports you back to Spain during the 1930s in mind, body and soul. The sets are georgous, the wardrobe and costuming is stunning, the acting is exceptional, and every little detail that went into this historical epic, written and directed by Roland Joffe is something to be seen. Regardless if you know anything about the Spanish Civil War, or anything about Josemaría Escriva who the story is about, this is a film that should not be missed.
I give There Be Dragons a 5 out of 5.
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