Javier Bardem was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for this, and I really wanted him to win. Not only was the story tons more interesting and involving than “Pollock,” (the other Best Actor biopic nominee)but it was told in a visually inventive way.
Bardem plays Reinaldo Arenas, a gay Cuban poet who is viewed as a threat to his government. But his life seemed like a bizarre set of coincidences and setbacks straight out of a David Lynch flick. The plot unfolds in the standard biopic way at first, but then uses lots of flashbacks and dream sequences to show us more about the main character.
The art direction and cinematography are absolutely top notch. Director Julian Schnabel has created a creative, colorful movie and Bardem delivers one of the best performances of the year for sure. The only bad thing I have to say is that Johnny Depp plays two roles in “Before Night Falls.” He’s terrific in both of them, but putting a recognizable star in two cameos in back-to-back scenes was really distracting. Aside from that, however, it is truly an amazing film. See this one in the theater, if you can!