The Comet | Chicago Reader

The Comet

Aside from isolated moments of violence and some tame sexual content, Marisa Sistach's 1998 Mexican feature could be one of those historical adventures that The Wonderful World of Disney churned out in the 60s and 70s. In 1910, during the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, a young Mexican woman is transporting a sack of gold coins to rebels in San Antonio; she finds an eager ally in the son of a traveling carnival operator, who longs to make movies. Subtlety is not Sistach's strong point: the villain is immediately identifiable by the curve of his mustache; when a character coughs once in the opening reel, you know he'll be dead by the final one (especially when a comet disappears from the sky as he's coughing in bed); and when the young man reaches up his friend's skirt to free a twittering bird, he's sure to be repeating the motion for another purpose entirely. Sistach tries to blend the charming cinephilia of Cinema Paradiso with the youthful adventurousness of The Journey of Natty Gann, yet she rarely achieves the level of suspense or pathos required to make this more than a shallow and intermittently diverting entertainment.

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