.

Before Night Falls

Javier Bardem, Olivier Martinez, Andrea Di Stefano, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn

Directed by Julian Schnabel
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 20, 2000

Before Night Falls — drunk on sex, freedom and the leaping joy of artistic creation — tells the story of Reinaldo Arenas (Javier Bardem), the Cuban novelist and poet. Tormented by AIDS and political persecution, Arenas died by his own hand in 1990, an exile in New York. Directing his second film, following 1996's Basquiat, the artist Julian Schnabel, who co-wrote the script based on Arenas' memoir, paints a vivid screen portrait of creative and carnal awakening. The liberating energy of pre-Castro Cuba is brought to scintillating life, in contrast to the later scenes of incarceration where Arenas is victimized as a gay man and a writer. Schnabel draws nuanced work from a large cast, including a roguish Johnny Depp in a dual role as a transvestite who smuggles Arenas' pages out of prison in his rectum and as an officer who blackmails him sexually. But Bardem is the film's glory. Best known for such Spanish films as Live Flesh, Bardem explodes onscreen in a breakthrough performance that ranks with the year's best. In uniting to honor Arenas, Bardem and Schnabel create something extraordinary.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Road to Nowhere”

    Talking Heads | 1985

    A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com