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An image from 800 Bullets
800 Bullets 2 out of 4


In 800 Bullets, the great Carmen Maura stars as an uptight mother and business woman whose rambunctious son, Carlos (Luis Castro), ditches a school skiing trip in order to find the masculine influence that's been long missing from his life. In "Texas, Hollywood," a fake western town in Almeria, he finds his grandfather Julián (Sancho Gracia), who supervises a motley crew of stuntmen and actresses. Reality and fiction frequently blur, but when Carlos grabs on to and starts jiggling a woman's breast, you realize that regardless of whether the tit belongs to an actress or a real whore, this is one lucky kid. The film's sentimentalism has earned the director comparisons to Spielberg, but there's a coy mean streak to 800 Bullets that you won't find in any Spielberg film. Álex de la Iglesia manages a number of humorous sequences (namely a scene where Maura's tight-ass arrives at the film's tourist stop and watches Carlos's grandfather shooting the kid off a roof), and though the constant shout-outs and references to spaghetti westerns and Ennio Morricone scores are pleasant enough, the whole film operates under the misogynistic impulse that women are annoyances to their men. There's scarcely a woman in the entire film that doesn't cramp a guy's style, and the one or two who don't are of course dignified by the size of their racks. But as far as retro fantasy scenarios for dudes with serious daddy issues go, I suppose you could do worse. Strictly for fans of The Shawkshank Redemption…or anyone who ever wanted to know what it would be like if Chris Columbus directed El Topo.

Director(s): Álex de la Iglesia Screenwriter(s): Jorge Guerricaechevarría, Álex de la Iglesia Cast: Sancho Gracia, Luis Castro, Carmen Maura, Ángel de Andrés López, Ramón Barea, Ramón Del Pomar, Cesáreo Estébanez, Luciano Federico, Ane Gabarain, Eduardo Gómez, Enrique Martínez, Berta Ojea Distributor: TLA Releasing Runtime: 124 min Rating: NR Year: 2003

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