Home | Reviews | Exclusive Writings | Great Links | Miscellaneous | FAQ | Contact Us

The Lost City /

Rated: R

Starring: Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, Tomas Milian, Ines Sastre, Dustin Hoffman

Directed by: Andy Garcia

Produced by: Andy Garcia, Frank Mancuso Jr

Written by: Guillermo Cabrera Infante

Distributor: Magnolia Pictures


Andy Garcia in Magnolia Pictures' The Lost City

Bill Murray in Magnolia Pictures' The Lost City

Ines Sastre and Andy Garcia in Magnolia Pictures' The Lost City

     Andy Garcia’s The Lost City is a highly passionate film. Garcia, who spent sixteen years seeking financing for the project before he could put it into action, is obviously very connected to the material. The film chronicles the shift in power in Cuba from the near-tyrannical rule of Fugencio Batista to that of the equally-oppressive communist Fidel Castro, who still leads the country today. It does so by following the lives of the members of the family of night-club-owner Fico Fellove (Garcia), all of whom act differently on their political views regarding the leadership of country, but unite through a common love of the Cuban culture.  A Cuban in exile himself, Garcia is able to establish a high sense of intimacy in both his acting and directing; the audience understands the heartbreak of the downfall of Cuba because of the sympathy they feel towards Fico.

     With all of this being said, it also deserves mentioning that the movie is as jumbled as it is affecting. Garcia is never self-indulgent in his love for the material in the way that Martin Scorsese is in his films, but his direction suffers because he seems to have made it as if he was Fico Fellove. While much of the movie’s power lies in the Garcia’s representation of its protagonist, it would’ve been better off had the filmmaker taken a more detached approach towards his exterior craftsmanship. Each individual scene in The Lost City works by itself, but Garcia’s overindulgence in Cuban musical performances (despite his beautiful choice of compositions) and insignificant supporting characters ruins the flow of the picture as a whole. Particularly out-of-place, although humorous in his own right, is Bill Murray in a role modeled after the author of the material, G. Cabrera Infante. Garcia was incessant upon defending the character at the Q&A after the screening of the film that I attended—Murray was also present (!), but didn’t speak to the issue—saying that the Murray’s dry comic relief in the movie was a necessity to preserving Infante’s style.

     The Lost City also contains a romantic thread between Fico and widow Aurora (Ines Sastre), the once-wife of one of Fico’s brother, who dies early on in the film participating in an uprising against Batista. This aspect of the story works and Sastre is perfect in her role; she and Garcia have an extraordinary onscreen chemistry which only becomes more significant as the storyline progresses and the two’s differing perspectives of Cuba are contrasted. This general approach is abundant in the whole of The Lost City and is perhaps the most admirable thing about it: instead of being about Cuban history, the movie teaches it through the characters’ decisions and opinions regarding their country. The viewer’s concern thereby focuses on the humanity of the story. This humanity propels the very heart of the story and it allows the film to be effective, despite whatever inconsistencies it may contain. The Lost City may not be a great movie, but it is an elemental, engrossing film that represents a personal triumph (if not an entirely successful one) for Garcia, as well as prime example of the power of independent filmmaking.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (5.27.2006)


Back to Home
The Bucket Review's Rating Scale