8 February 2006 | johnsilverlargo
notable Spanish noir film
I don't know why this film is called "El Crack" ("the Crack"). i searched in my English dictionary, and i found that "to crack" is to solve a mystery. probably it refers to that.
the film is dedicated to north-American crime-novel writer Dashiell Hammet. i haven't read any novel of Sam Spade... but i have watched The Maltese Falcon, and i found a subtle wink to Bogart character in Garci's movie. i remember that Bogart-Spade had a particular gesture when he was thinking: he scratched his ear. Landa-Areta scratches his mustache.
But don't think that El Crack is a film where you cant follow the plot, as in the old Bogart detectives movies... (is a famous anecdote that even Howard Hawks and Raymond Chandler -director and writer respectively- had serious doubts during the filming of THE BIG SLEEP to explain themselves some scenes of the complicated puzzle of its plot). No, the plot is easy to follow in El Crack.
José Luis Garci is one of the best directors of the Spanish film industry with no doubt. his films can be easily identified: they are perfectly written (this one was co-written by one of his collaborators, Horacio Varcárcel), with a lot of winks to Hollywood classics and to literature; the rhythm of his films use to be slow (that doesn't mean boring, cause his stories has so much substance that the slow rhythm is necessary to assimilate it); each secondary character of a Garci's film is very detailed and defined.
Garci makes in this film a great thing: he saves Landa from the bad movies and bad critics. Alfredo Landa was then, in 1981, a veteran actor that made a lot of stupid comedies during 60's and 70's. apart dubbing some American films and little interventions in some classics as Forqué's ATRACO A LAS TRES, the rest were that stupid comedies... then Garci appears to give him the best part of his career till then. Garci trusted in Landa... and Landa didn't disappointed him. Since then Landa is considered in Spain a great actor (LOS SANTOS INOCENTES, CANCIÓN DE CUNA, LA VAQUILLA...). was definitely forgotten to Spanish film-lovers that epoch of stupid comedy films that one critic called "Landism" El Crack is an notable movie. is entertaining and haven't got old. i think that Garci proposed himself with his movies of then to describe an epoch, the Spanish Transition to democracy. In this particular case he captures Madrid 1981. and he achieved his purpose.
Besides he shoots some minutes in New York too. The city of his dreams; he do that with real passion to that city, indeed; but perhaps too with a little message to American Academy members...: "eh, look, here is a young Spanish director, talented, that loves cinema and Hollywood movies as just a few persons in the world". He did the same next year (shoot a part of his film BEGUIN THE BEGUINE in USA; winks to the old Hollywood flavour) and then he got the Oscar.
This film is important not only as cinematographic. It has an important sociological and historical...: it captures the Spain of early 80's: costumes, fashions, dresses, cars, radio and TV programs, streets of Madrid...
Haven't seen the movie? watch it! :)