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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Night Train to Lisbon (Pascal Mercier, Greg Latter, Ulrich Herrmann)

Directed by Bille August, an ageing Swiss professor quits his job after a chance encounter with a Portuguese woman and travels to Lisbon in the hope of discovering the fate of Amadeu de Prado, a doctor and poet who fought against Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

Starring: Jeremy Irons, Mélanie Laurent, Jack Huston, Tom Courtenay, August Diehl, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin, Nicolau Breyner, Charlotte Rampling, Helena Afonso, Beatriz Batarda, Sarah Bühlmann, Marco D'Almeida, João Lagarto, Joaquim Leitão, Adriano Luz, Ana Lúcia Palminha, José Wallenstein

My thoughts on this film: I read the book by Pascal Mercier and - with much respect to the author - I found it boring. The story is good, but the way it was written... just not my cup of tea. Therefore, when I went too see the movie, I was expecting to be bored out of my mind and had a wonderful surprise.
The story is a little slow, there is not much action, but I found it interesting in terms of History. This deals with a very important part of Portuguese History, the Portuguese dictatorship of Oliveira Salazar, and uses a fictional Portuguese author to lead us deeply into our past.
I also found it weird that people older than me were so shocked at a scene where the PIDE (Portuguese police at the time) were beating a man's hands. I was not even born then and I know they did much worse things! Maybe a little History lesson would help!
On another chapter, it was fun to see some very famous Portuguese actors and actresses in this film speaking in English, especially Nicolau Breyner (Mr. Silva) - I was very surprised to hear his English accent!
In terms of Jeremy Irons, I always thought he was a very good, meticulous actor, and he proved just that. Mr. Irons was actually the only foreigner who managed to pronounce the Portuguese names correctly.
On a bad note, I did not enjoy the beginning and ending very much; they seemed unnecessary to the script, as well as unfinished.
Overall, I have the feeling that only Portuguese people will enjoy this movie, but it is still worth seeing.

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