A mature Spanish drama that isn’t afraid to explore the larger questions about life and death.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Finally, a movie that features a dog and doesn’t kill it off. With a firm focus on the role of death and the nature of relationships, Cesc Gay‘s Truman is not exactly an all-out tear-jerker, but is still a beautiful, albeit solemn tale.
Truman follows the journey of Julián (Ricardo Darín) a 40-something dying man who’s visited by one of his closest friends from school, Tomás (Javier Cámara). The two spend four days together before Tomás needs to return to Canada and in those four days Julián’s situation begins to unravel. It’s deeply melancholic, but at the same time it inspires bravery amidst our ultimate fears.
What I particularly enjoyed was the different scenarios used to explore the prominent themes. Yes, it is quite convenient that within the four days of Tomás’ visit, Julián encounters a large number of key people that have influenced his life, but nevertheless it serves as a nice treat. We not only grow to understand his relationship with Tomás, but also with his son, ex-wife, supposed friends and those he hurt.
A few faults let the film down; while Ricardo Darín displays moments of greatness with his subtle performance, Javier Cámara, on the other hand, is stony faced throughout to the point of being boring. His character is meant to appear brave and hide his emotions, but he doesn’t really offer anything else.
Overall, I still had a good time watching this film, which has made quite a buzz over in Madrid, winning 5 awards at the 30th Goya Awards – think the Academy Awards, Española. It made me wonder how I would act if I was in Julián’s position and if I could be as brave as him. While it’s kind of a depressing topic and the film certainly has a few issues, I’d still recommend seeing it when you can – it’s far better than anything else out at the moment.
Truman is available in Australian cinemas from August 11
Image courtesy of Palace Films