Reviews

Little Ashes

3

Pattz gets arty…

Were it not for a certain heartthrob du jour appearing in this sultry biopic of Salvador Dalí’s student days, Little Ashes might have passed quietly under the radar.

But since wrapping on this, leading man Robert Pattinson has become global teen catnip thanks to Twilight, so the crafty release date delay should ensure a built-in audience of quivering schoolgirls looking for their ‘R-Pattz’ fix.

They’ll be in for a shock. There’s no dreamy neck-nibbling to be had here – just good honest arthouse gay sex, masturbation and nudity.

Taking memories from Dalí’s contradicting autobiographies and set against the rise of Fascism, Philippa Goslett’s screenplay weaves an intriguing tale of lust, ambition and liberalism as Dalí (Pattinson) metamorphasises from shy dandy arriving at art school in ’20s Madrid to his bonkers bug-eyed persona – via an infatuation with fellow student, writer Federico Lorca (Javier Beltrán).

Pattinson proves his range exceeds looking sexy with fangs as he throws himself into the role with credible Spanish accent, pube-flashing and maniacal paint-splattering.

Though he’s confessed to being uneasy acting his gay love scenes, he’s convincing in (relatively tame) mano-a-mano clinches; and by the time he’s poncing about Paris in the trademark Dalí moustache he’s deliciously repellent and narcissistic – a nation of teenagers will weep.

What’s more, Pattinson is easily matched by newcomer Beltrán whose quiet, nuanced performance provides the smouldering heart of the pair’s bromance. But as with most artist bios, the unique genius of Dalí is a tricky beast to translate to screen, leaving director Paul Morrison (Wondrous Oblivion) to essentially paint a gorgeous mood piece with stunning images of the artist’s hometown, beautifully shot interpretations of Lorca’s poetry and smoky evocations of Europe’s pre-war avant-garde scene. Muy bonita!

Jane Crowther

Verdict:

Leaving questions dangling, this isn’t the definitive take on Dalí art-lovers may crave. Still, shot on a shoestring, it’s nevertheless a lush, involving period drama that proves there are other strings to Pattinson’s bow.  

Film Details

User Reviews

    • sydneyc

      Apr 25th 2009, 18:09

      Little Ashes is rated R so no built in teen audience. Robert Pattinson's appeal exceeds the teen audience but somehow everyone that writes anything about him feels the need to call him teen idol, teen catnip etc. Good review though, I really enjoyed it :)

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    • missdini

      Apr 25th 2009, 18:14

      5

      The film is a beautiful work of art. Cinematography, score and costumes are excellent and considering the budget of the film downright astounding. Pattinson and Beltran are superb and compliment each other perfectly. I did think the film dipped slightly when Pattinson wasnt on screen - a lack of energy from Beltran occasionally possibly being the culprit but its a fascinating film, beautifully told and I found the end particularly moving. One surprise - Pattinson was extremely effective at the comedy moments - he has great timing and his physical comedy skills are particularly effective. He can skid round a corner like Buster Keaton!

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    • estram

      Apr 25th 2009, 18:29

      5

      I saw Little Ashes at Raindance. Ages ago infact and I'm looking forward to seeing it again although the limited release in the UK is going to make that quite tricky. Its a shame as the film is excellent and the performances of the actors in the 4 lead roles excellent. I loved the score and hope there'll be a soundtrack CD. I would have liked the script to have spent more time developing Dali's character - Lorca is the main focus of the film but that aside I thoroughly enjoyed it. Beltran gives an assured performance and Pattinson is a huge surprise. I adored his brave and bold interpretation of Dali. If the film had enough push behind it I could see Pattinson's performance being considered for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars.

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    • gailforce

      Apr 25th 2009, 22:16

      5

      I loved the film. Rob and Javier are great in it. Rob's fearless playing Dali. By the way Pattinson has fans of all ages. Women in their 30's and 40's adore him. He isnt a teen craze.

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    • Victor

      Apr 26th 2009, 1:56

      I'm sure it was well-intentioned, but the word "bromance" brings to mind contemporary late-adolescent metrosexuals bonding over latte, sharing a designer wardrobe and "getting in touch with their feminine side" en route to standard issue adult heterosexuality, and seems flippant, minimizng, dismissive and flatly inappropriate when applied to someone like Federico García Lorca.

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