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Bel Canto 2018
Description: A popular opera singer is held hostage in South America by a guerrilla rebel group after performing at a Japanese businessman's lavish birthday party. Unexpected bonds are forged in the standoff that ensues.
Released: 14 Sep 2018 Director: Paul Weitz Writers: Paul Weitz (screenplay by), Anthony Weintraub (screenplay by), Ann Patchett (based on the novel by) Actors: Julianne Moore, Ken Watanabe, Sebastian Koch, Ryo Kase Genres: Drama, Music, Romance, Thriller
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Bel Canto Reviews:

Hardly a realistic plot to narrate, with nice perspective though mostly because of Julianne. And somewhere between tiny doses of suspense and greater of humanity, the movie leaves us with the feeling of unfinished business, as if the director wanted simply to proceed without the emotional strength, this film should bring. It got flat at this very moment anyone expected the power behind the facts. Anyway, it was no waste of time, enjoyable but ...something finally was missing.


When I read this ebook in 2001, I was struck by how cinematic the writing was. The storyline was tragic and operatic--perfect for film. Why it took so long, I don't know, but this film is a major disappointment. Weitz had a brilliant cast and Rene Fleming's voice to work with and he wasted both of them. The most strong moment in the ebook is when the guerrillas are going to execute a hostage and the singer faces them down and blasts them with "O mio babbino caro". Violence is impossible in the face of such beauty and the whole dynamic of the case is changed. Selecting to slash out that stage was the first indicator that this director/screenwriter was clueless about this material. The final assault that frees the hostages was just terrible action film crap. We need this stage to be operatic: the saddest aria in the repertoire blasting on the soundtrack as the assault plays out in slow motion--the death of every of the characters we have grown to know devastating us as we watch them gunned down one by one with all the tragic pathos of a nice opera. Patchett's novel deserves better.


Quite various from anything I've ever seen before, this hostage film is not a thriller but more of a storyline about bonding between very various people. Full test is made of the international cast from Japanese to Latin American to German and French. The comedic parts in the middle are laugh out loud funny. Like the guard at the door of her bedroom telling it's like a Telenovela. And the terrorist learning to sing. Julianne Moore is lovely and very diva looking. Her singing is dubbed by Renee Fleming but Julianne's lip synching isn't that convincing - her mouth moves but her body and neck don't heave with the breaths that opera singers take. She has chemistry with Ken Watanabe and they look quite nice together. Too terrible his hero had to be a martyr. What happened to Christopher Lambert? He looks so strange. The Stockholm syndrome thing goes a bit too far with the Japanese translator and Carmen. It's interesting to see the bond between the terrorists and captives develop. They are not the really terrible kind of terrorists just bent on killing for no reason. But in the end I think the unreserved caring that the captives had for the fate of the terrorists was difficult to buy.It's based loosely on the Japanese Embassy hostage crisis in Peru but the romances and diva thing are made up. Very much worth a watch.



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