Andy Garcia's "The Lost City," while not a masterpiece, is a sad yet moving tale of the Cuban Revolution, a family torn apart by politics and circumstance, and the destruction of freedom in the name of freedom.
Garcia stars as Fico Fellove, a rich owner of the finest nightclub in Havana. Amazingly, he doesn't have a Cuban accent even though the rest of his family does, but otherwise delivers a captivating and emotional performance. He's been better in other things, but he certainly has a passion for the project and it shows. None of the supporting cast really stands out, but not in a bad way, either. Bill Murray shows up to provide a strange dose of humor in a few places, and while the comedy seems out of place he is a pretty entertaining character nonetheless.
The movie is about this man who watches as his family crumbles as some of his brothers become Castro supporters, while others remain loyal to Batista or try to stay out of it all together. Tensions run high, but in a city on the verge of war, tensions are high everywhere. When family arguments turn to more than angry political feuds, however, Fico realizes that his idealistic world of jazz and freedom may be coming to an end.
At nearly two and a half hours, "The Lost City" appears long, but its slow descent into misery is a brilliant one. I'm a big fan of movies that slowly change the mood and environment over the course of the story without you realizing it, and Garcia pulls it off quite nicely. The movie strikes a bitter and saddened chord when you look back at how much things have changed in the course of a very short time span, and you didn't even realize it at first. Even sadder is the fact that this once decadent society has been restricted by a single man for the last fifty years, and the Unites States embargo.
Now out on DVD, "The Lost City" is one of those movies that strangely was never given any kind of chance at theaters, even though it certainly could have appealed to more mature audiences. Well-done and emotional without ever being overly dramatic, "The Lost City" is a fine example of what Andy Garcia is capable of.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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