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Featured DVD Review: Javier Bardem 3-Film Collection

November 6th, 2012

Javier Bardem: 3-Film Collection - Buy from Amazon

This week, a 3-film collection of films starring Javier Bardem comes out on DVD, featuring Mondays in the Sun, No Country for Old Men, and Biutiful, two of which I've previously reviewed.

Mondays in the Sun

As the film begins, we see a labor protest. A shipyard in northern Spain is closing and the workers are protesting in a not entirely peaceful way. Tires are set on fire and rocks are thrown, but things do get too much out of hand. A group of former co-workers still hang out together, including Santa, the defacto leader of the group. He talks to his friends, Jose and Lino (José Ángel Egido), while taking the morning ferry. Lino has a job interview and he's nervous, with good reason. He's not qualified for the job, he doesn't have a car, and he's too old. Later while they are in the bar with Amador and Rico (Joaquín Climent), former co-worker and current bar owner. Amador is there, as usual. His wife is away taking care of her sick mother and he practically lives at the bar. Santa offers to buy him a beer, but Rico questions his ability to pay. So when Rico's teenage daughter returns to the bar with some supplies, Santa flirts with her, just to get under Rico's skin. However, when she responds in kind, just to get under his skin, it works. For one of the few times during the entire movie, he becomes flustered. While at the bar, we also hear about Reina (Enrique Villén), the only other member of their group with a job. Finally there's Sergei, a Russian immigrant who has some impressive tales about his life in Russia.

After being introduced to the characters, we learn more about them throughout the movie. Santa committed an act of vandalism during the protests and is threatened with jail if he doesn't pay the fine. Jose is married to Ana (Nieve de Medina), but while he is unemployed, she has a job, which is causing strife in their marriage, especially since he thinks her boss is interested in her. We learn more about Amador and how perhaps his wife isn't taking care of a sick mother.

There's not a lot of plot to this film. It is more of a character study of these friends and how they react to their job disappearing, especially since it seems a few of them are not going to get a new job any time soon. If you don't like the movie, you will likely complain a lot about the pacing. Truth be told, even if you like the film, you'll will probably still complain a bit about the pace. To borrow a phrase I've used in the past, if you like the movie, you will call the pacing deliberate. If you don't, you will call it glacial. On the other hand, there's no reason to complain about the acting. The film picked up numerous awards in its native Spain and much of them were focused on the cast. Javier Bardem, Luis Tosar, and José Ángel Egido all won Goya awards, while Nieve de Medina earned a nomination. This is a movie that showcases its actors' talents very well and it deserved the Best Picture Goya award.

The Extras

Extras include an audio commentary track with the star, Javier Bardem, and the writer / director, Fernando León de Aranoa. It is in Spanish with English subtitles. Next up is a 26-minute making of featurette. There are some deleted scenes that run to twelve minutes, including introductions. Finally, there are two storyboard to screen comparisons that run for a combined six minutes.

The Verdict

Mondays in the Sun is an excellent movie and is it absolutely worth owning. The other two DVDs in the box set are just the previously released and previously reviewed versions of No Country for Old Men and Biutiful, so it is double-dips all the way around. On the other hand, 3-Film Collection does cost just $15, which is a good deal, if you don't own any of the movies on DVD already.

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Filed under: Video Review, No Country for Old Men, Mondays in the Sun, Biutiful, Javier Bardem, Celso Bugallo, Serge Riaboukine, Luis Tosar