Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
Patreon review coming🔜
2019 list - Click HERE
It’s funny because my last Letterboxd log was the exact same score. So I was in the 7/10 camp for this until (literally) the final 30 seconds of the film. Without spoiling anything; there is a scene that puts the layout of the film into an entirely new perspective. That bumped it up a huge notch. It’s always the films that you want to continue to reflect on that hit you the hardest. It isn’t one of the best of the year for me, but it is definitely a gift that keeps on giving. The first act is slow, but the scenes showcasing his past had me much more interested than his current world. The story itself turns out to be a great one, but it takes a while to get to where it’s going. Banderas is a phenomenal actor, and he manages to showcase that well here. Did he deserve to get that nomination over some “snubs” for me? Not at all, but once I let go of my Academy-based anger, I will be happy to see him there. He’s always been a personal favorite of mine.
The real victory here is the script and how it weaves these plot-threads together. It makes what seems to be a semi-uninteresting story a bit more personal towards the end. His unrelenting sadness is so prominent at first, but once you learn why; you are locked in on that story. To talk only about the lead performance isn’t fair, because this entire cast dominates. From his younger self, to his mother, etc; they all provide for some deeper and more emotional scenes than (maybe) even the script called for. The direction is slick, the interweaving of the visuals at the beginning is a nice touch, and there is a stylistic feel here. It is one that needed to do more to captivate me. It could be where I’m just not there in my life yet. Movies usually have to give something extra for me to get invested into a much further “life-stage” (like The Irishman captivating with its screenplay). Regardless, that final scene was a nice surprise. It puts the film in a new perspective. Pain and Glory is really solid.