Whatever happened to Antonio Banderas, the original Latin superstar?
Ever since 2005’s “Legend of Zorro” and 2006’s “Take the Lead”, Antonio Banderas has practically disappeared into the Hollywood sunset.
An active father and husband, Antonio has probably scaled back to be with his family.
But what I have always been curious about is what happened to this Latin superstar and why hasn’t he won that Oscar that I know is inside him somewhere.
Since he hung up his whip as Zorro, Antonio has only headlined three films, done voice work as “Puss in Boots” and was featured in some ensemble work.
Those the independently produced “The Big Bang”, studio movie “Take the Lead” and his reteaming with Pedro Almodovar in “Skin I Live In”. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to check out “The Big Bang”.
“Big Bang” stars Antonio as private investigator Ned Cruz, who is on the trail of a missing stripper (Sienna Guillory) for her ex-con boyfriend.
He recounts his investigation while in police custody to three detectives (Thomas Kretschmann, William Fichtner & Delroy Lindo). His story is long and drawn out with many twists and turns that involve some very colorful cameos. You have Snoop Dogg as a porn director, Bill Duke as a jazz player, Sam Elliot as a hermit millionaire/scientist, James Van Der Beek as a strung-out Hollywood A-List actor and Autumn Reeser as a horny, tattooed waitress.
The movie has voiceovers that bring back the allure of an old Mickey Spillane crime novel. And this crime noir movie could have been really good but the pacing and direction are really off.
Directed by TV producer Tony Krantz, the movie really feels like amateur hour in places. The scenes in the interrogation room are lit and blocked really well but the variety of scenes involving the flashbacks are all over the canvas. The first meeting scene where Antonio gets his case is just crazy bad. Same with the stripper bar and porn warehouse studio. The outside driving scene is interesting as well as the diner scene. It’s like the only reason Krantz decided to direct this himself is that he wanted to do each scene a completely different way to try out things.
The most interesting thing that Krantz ever produced was the TV pilot called “Mulholland Drive” directed by David Lynch. Krantz along with Lynch were the ones that thought why not make Mulholland a feature film. Krantz also spent time as an agent working for CAA. So all this explains why he was able to assemble such an interesting ensemble with Banderas headlining.
The movie is quite slow in places and if you can watch the radical shift in scene tone and blocking and you like film noir then I suggest you check this out. But really I think this is an experiment gone wrong.
3 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer