Fresh off the success of â€œNo Country For Old Menâ€, Lionsgate has gotten the Javier Bardem bug and decided to put out a film from much earlier in Bardemâ€™s career. This film, Extasis, really shows the flicker of talent that would ultimately rear its head in â€œNo Countryâ€. Bardemâ€™s character, Rober, hatches a plan that will have them sitting on easy street if they are able to go through with it. This plan has eir, along with friends Lola and Max, strong-arm their families and get enough money to comfortably live on. The plan begins to unravel after Max is arrested. Robert, unwilling to give up the plan, attempts to take the place of Max and get Maxâ€™s wealthy father to help who ey thinks is Max. With the money source found, Rober is off on easy street, maintaining a high visibility regardless of the possibility that ey (and Lola and Max) face will be picked up. The tension created between the three is immense, and Bardemâ€™s portrayal of a character that is caught up in eir greed to the point that everything could easily come tumbling down is just stellar.
As was the case with Barrio, viewers (unless they are well versed with Spanish cinema from the turn of this century) will not readily know the actors that are present. However, the ability of each actor and actress, be it Silvia Munt as Lola or Daniel Guzman and Max, is at a level that is easily comparable to the best-known actors in Hollywood today. There is little in the way of added features here beyond the English subtitles that are present.
Where I would loved to have seen an interview with Bardem showing the importance of this film as it compares to the whole of eir career, the fact that this is readily available on DVD is enough of a reason to pick up a copy. Hereâ€™s to hoping that the sales of Extasis are enough that the countless other films that Bardem was a major player in (numbering in the double-digits) are then brought over for American audiences. The skill of Bardem as an actor is simply unmatched: Extasis gives viewers a further sense about how skilled Bardem really is, by playing a character that is much different from the one that ey played in No Country. Make it a point to find a copy of Extasis and see what I am talking about.
Extasis (DVD) / 2008 Lionsgate / 96 Minutes / http://www.lionsgatedvd.com /