The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
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All Critics (28)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (25)
| Rotten (3)
The results are mixed -- a handful of moments of genuine, undeniable power, interspersed with a fair number of listless scenes.
The dimly lit, exquisitely composed cinematography, by Guillermo Nieto, adds to the draw of this highly recommended movie.
Although it is not a comedy, Lion's Den is suffused with sense of life lived in the present. Even the grimmest moments are not exploited to instill fear and loathing.
Part meticulous character study, part hyperrealist drama...
A portrait of a subculture whose members take pride in walking their kids to the penitentiary's pre-K class.
Once the film devolves into a drag-down fight for custody with Julia's mother, only Gusman's nuance saves us from a script that seems geared more toward screeching overacting.
Leonera a gritty, earnest drama that mixes breast-feeding and screaming infants into more familiar scenarios of lesbian romance, shower assaults, strip-searches and bonfire riots.
Riveting, harrowing and thoroughly infused with hope and love, this prison drama is so realistic that it's often difficult to watch
Frustratingly, the film tells us little about the crime itself and the denouement is a little unconvincing. The taste of sweat and fear is, however, real enough.
Real inmates are extras, real cells provide the scenery: it has the desperate vitality of something barely made-up.
Less than the sum of its parts? Yes. Nice parts? Yes.
Lion's Den is an unqualified success.
I would never say that the film was bad. But until Julia gives birth to her son, the movie is kind of aimless. When it becomes a story about a mother doing everything she can to raise her son as normally as she can under strange circumstances, then the movie improves a whole lot. Everything that happened before that was still solid and Martina Gusman was more good in her role, it's just that the story doesn't really kick in until she gives birth. The movie is well made and acted. I also liked the fact that there's a bit of ambiguity and the movie never tells you whether Julia did or did not murder the person she was accused of murdering. I thought that added a little intrigue to the story that wouldn't have been there if they had told you explicitly whether she did it or not. It's just a tiny little touch that actually adds a lot to the film as far as being intriguing and adding a little mystery to the proceedings. There was potential for this film to be melodramatic and overacted but I think, and this is typical of a lot of Argentinian films I've seen, the films are believably acted and they have a grit to their visual style that is more realistic. That's about it, sometimes the film can be a mixed bag but once the story gets to the heart of the matter, it ends up becoming a strong film with an excellent performance from Martina Gusman.
Painfully realistic portrayal of one mother's struggle to raise her child in a penitentiary for women. Director Pablo Trapero doesn't pull any punches and Martina Gusman's performance is utterly fantastic.
Some beautiful movie were coming lately from Argentina and Lion's Den was also one of them. The movie, the characters. the performances and the location, all were amazing. It was not only a movie about a mother's struggle to raise her child in a prison, but it was more then only that. The movie was about mothers love and her struggle to prove her innocence to raise her child outside the prison. Presenting the movie scenes in a prison with background prison noises created an atmosphere which made this movie more real. What was remarkable in this movie the prison guards which usually were presented as brutal and heartless human beings, were in this movie touching and caring people. A real jewel from Argentina. Worth a watch.
With a scarcely believable ending, "Lion's Den" is a compelling yet episodic movie about Julia(Martina Gusman) who along with Ramiro(Rodrigo Santoro) has been charged with the murder of a mutual acquaintance. They both have different explanations accusing the other which is ironic since they have no memories of the night in question in Julia's apartment. The following morning, she went out like nothing was wrong even when waking up with blood on her cheek but did not realize anything was wrong until she found a bruise on her neck. The movie specializes in subtle clues like that such as a little boy walking in a prison corridor before alerting the viewer to Julia being in a ward for mothers since she is pregnant. While this alone is an intriguing setting from which to examine the dynamics of prison life(sadly, Julia and her friend Marta(Laura Garcia) are the only detailed characters there), her pregnancy has another use as a measurement of how long she is behind bars without receiving a trial. At the same time, Julia undergoes a personal transformation brought on from being in prison and becoming a mother from rich party girl to somebody taking responsibility for her life.
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