VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA (Alliance, 2008) D: Woody Allen, w/ Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem. Rating: NNNNN; DVD package: n/a Rating: NNNNN
Handsome Spanish painter Juan Antonio (Javier Bardem) invites two American tourists for a dirty weekend. Cristina (Scarlett Johansson) is all for it, Vicky (Rebecca Hall) not so much.
What follows has nothing to do with the standard threesome fantasy and isn't exactly a comedy, though it has funny moments and a light tone.
The contrast of timid Vicky with perpetually restless Cristina, apparently content Juan Antonio and his emotional basket-case ex-wife (Penélope Cruz, Oscar-nominated for the role) suggests serious philosophical concerns about free will and fate, though the story always takes precedence. It's original and so engaging that at the end I found myself wondering about the rest of the characters' lives, something I almost never do.
On the surface, the film is graced with fine acting and lovely images. Barcelona, with its Gaudí architecture, and the Spanish countryside are gorgeous. So is the Spanish guitar soundtrack.
There are no extras. I once heard Woody Allen say in an interview that he keeps working to have something to do. That's probably all we need to know.
EXTRAS Widescreen. English, French audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles.