The Lost City
The Lost City is writer/director Andy Garcia"s deeply personal but rather long-winded perspective of the Cuban revolution, with some good performances and lots of sexy music.
Fico (Garcia) is a low-key Havana nightclub owner who knows how to stay out of politics--and still remain a player. As he is watching the drum beat of a revolution in his country rumble around him, along with his two brothers (Enrique Murciano and Nestor Carbonell) and his father (Tomas Milian), a university professor, Fico also harbors a secret unrequited love for his sister-in-law Aurora (Ines Sastre). Along the way Fico comes across a strong-arming gang leader (Dustin Hoffman) and a shadowy unnamed CIA operative (Bill Murray), who both offer their own humorous and biting insights into the insanity unfolding on the small island country. Who will join the revolution, what side will they be on, and can Fico remain neutral?
Naturally, Garcia is perfect in the role he directed, wrote and produced for himself, and he finally shows some of that talent we saw in his Godfather, Part III days. As a director, he's also developed an eye for talent, in casting the subtle and beautiful Ines Sastre as the love interest and two relatively unknown guys as his brothers. The recognizable faces he puts in the film, Hoffman and Murray, are so out of place they almost take you out of the movie when they appear. They're like a Greek chorus reminding you that Garcia has made many A-list friends in Hollywood and can all on some markers for his personal pet project. Pay attention instead to the actors who play real people, such as Jsu Garcia as the young Che Guevara, and character actor Juan Fernandez as Batista. Their performances are gripping.
It"s hard to knock such a passionate project. Lost City is a heart-felt love poem to Garcia's home country, filled with stunning imagery, romance, tragedy and some really jammin" music (a few of the songs were even arranged by Garcia himself). The nightclub scenes and the more than 40 musical numbers are definitely the highlight. But the historical references and the long Dr. Zhivago-esque tale of unrequited love and missed opportunities slows the film way down. At two hours and 23 minutes, it ends up sounding repetitious. Nevertheless, if you have an appreciation for Cuban music, or thought Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights was a toe-tappin" movie, Lost City might be time worth spent.
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.