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Movie Review: Little Ashes

Posted on May 21, 2009 by

Little Ashes“Twilight” fans beware: this is not your typical R-Pattz. He’s crazy, he’s odd and I like it.

“Little Ashes” takes place in 1920’s Spain (pre-Spanish Civil War) and focuses on the real-life friendship of eccentric artist Salvador Dalí (played by Robert Pattinson), famed poet and revolutionary Federico García Lorca (Javier Beltrán), and renowned Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel (Matthew McNulty). But most importantly, “Little Ashes” tells the untold love story of Dalí and García Lorca.

Most of the movie takes place at the university attended by the three Spanish artists. One of the very first scenes shows Pattinson as Dalí arriving at school dressed in God knows what and a bob cut, which I’m sure will shock many of you because it defiantly shocked the characters in the movie.

Then again, Madrid was at a turning point in the 1920’s as was most of the world. It’s no wonder why that decade was nicknamed the “roaring twenties.” Jazz was a new thing, Freud was sharing his controversial ideas and experimental art was beginning to explode. In a way, Dalí, García Lorca and Buñuel represent these changes in “Little Ashes,” just like they did in real life.

But the main focus of this movie is the relationship of García Lorca and Dalí. Anyone who has seen the trailers for this film knows Dalí and García Lorca have a fling. And in case you were wondering, there’s plenty of kissing scenes featuring Pattinson and Beltrán. However, that’s not all the movie is about. It’s about change, it’s about freedom, it’s about being unique and it’s very relevant today.

Yes this is a biopic, but it’s not a time-piece your grandmother would necessarily watch. All of the main actors are under thirty and all of them do an amazing job at making history accessible to a new generation (they get drunk and rebel).

Pattinson will blow you away with his portrayal of Dalí. First of all, the guy deserves a huge pat on the back for taking on one of the most complex roles. Dalí was known to be both a shy person and an attention-seeking exhibitionist. To blend this odd combination of character traits and pull it off is really hard and he does it. On top of that, he’s a British actor playing a Spanish icon and although his Spanish accent isn’t the best, it’s still impressive. Either way, his weird facial expressions make up for it.

Matthew McNulty (also a British actor) pulls off the Spanish accent as well, but it’s a good thing that the film’s other two stars, Beltrán (who makes his feature film debut in “Little Ashes”) and Marina Gatell are Spanish natives, which makes the movie authentic.

Beltrán and Pattinson definitely have chemistry together. I didn’t want to compare “Little Ashes” to “Twilight,” since the movies are completely different but the one thing they share is this idea of forbidden love. In “Twilight” one is scared the other might bite their head off for being a vampire and in “Little Ashes” they’re scared they’ll have their heads bitten off for loving each other.

You can tell this wasn’t a big budget movie, but you can also tell a lot of thought and effort went into it. Director Paul Morrison does a great job of capturing Spain through the eyes of a Spanish person as opposed to a tourist. This isn’t the type of movie that shows something for no reason, every scene made the cut for a reason, and so did every actor. “Little Ashes” is the kind of movie that also depends a lot on the actors and their performance. Another cast could have completely changed the outcome of the movie.

But the cool thing about this film is that it’s so focused and yet you can get a lot out of it. Whether you’re going into it to see Pattinson make out with another guy, or because you’re a fan of Dalí’s work or because you like Spain, you’ll definitely be satisfied.

andPOP Rating - 4 Stars

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