10 February 2003 | chthon2
Potentially Good Film Ruined by Awful Editing
Isabel (Greta Scacchi) is a Cuban refugee who escaped with her daughter to Miami, but was forced to leave behind her husband Nestor (Jimmy Smits). Nestor was taken prisoner by Fidel Castro's communist government and has not seen his family since. Sam (Vincent D'Onofrio), a young fisherman, saves Isabel and her daughter from a raft and the two fall for each other. Years later, Nestor escapes Cuba and arrives in Miami, eager to see his former family. Not only must Isabel choose between her estranged husband and her intense, somewhat frightening American lover, Nestor is being pestered by politically motivated Cubans who want him to continue working against Castro.
The story to this film is a promising tale of torn romance. What makes it better than most is that there are too choices which must be made: Isabel's choice between mild mannered and familiar Nestor or the short tempered Sam, and Nestor's choice between his wife and his country. This is ruined, however, by choppy editing and a whole slough of unnecesary sex scenes. I'm sure the director must be saddened to see her work turned into some marginal picture about a woman who the editors turned into a mindless f***-doll.
Scacchi's performance was very real and convincing, making the poor editing all the more unfortunate. Smits, who is quite a talented actor, seems like he must have been sick or something while they were filming, because he's sort of like a zombie in this movie; no fire seems to burn within him (pun intended). D'Onofrio gives another extreme performance which is good for people like me who enjoy what critics call "over acting". Good premise, but ruined in the cutting room. Worth watching once.