reviews (a to z)# a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

home :: latest reviews :: reviewer profiles :: statistics :: diary :: links

Sombra Dolorosa (Sorrowful Shadow) (2004)

  Directed by: Guy Maddin
Starring: Talia Pura
Links: Sombra Dolorosa on the IMDb, Watch online, Buy on DVD
Genre: Short

This movie gets: 6.00 (3 ratings) Ranking: Ranked equal 129th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Esto es una buena película!" - a review by andy-j

I'll have none of this drawn-out time-taking atmosphere-setting nonsense that is so prevalent in your modern-day short film. You only have a couple of minutes, so stop wasting it! Sombra Dolorosa socks it to you so fast that you'll feel like you've just been piledrived (piledriven?) by Death in a wrestling ring, which is pretty much what happens in this short film.

Sombra Dolorosa is a crazy little melodrama with a ridiculous premise. It's almost like the recap from the last episode of something. I love the narrative style and the frantic pace. There are plenty of nice little touches throughout. Señor Maddin es mucho bueno!

andy-j gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 10 Oct 2005

"Olé!" - a review by pearly

Continuing along his theme of content inspired by early films of the twenties or thirties, Guy Maddin's Sombra Dolorosa contains the highest level of narrative of any of his films that I have seen thus far. Styled like a silent film, with the narrative of the film being interspersed throughout on frames which detail, in written words, exactly what's happening (i.e. title cards). At the same time, the film contains some dialogue. It tells the story of a recently widowed woman (Talia Pura), who must fight with El Muerto (death) to save her daughter from suicide.

The film contains some very strange elements and themes, which I am presuming relate back to Mexican mythology of some kind, and I found this whole thing to be quite intriguing. The film contained almost enough stuff to be fleshed out into quite a lengthy piece, but Maddin clearly preferred to deal with it the way they would have way back then, by skipping over the details, in preference to having everything happen at a mile a minute, in a haphazard, choppily-edited fashion. And all the better, methinks, as this one really worked for me, if only as a stylistic piece (though I think it amounted to a little more than that).

pearly gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 5 Oct 2005

"One foreign object, that's for sure." - a review by mino

Sombra Dolorosa, or Sorrowful Shadow, is the second of three Guy Maddin shorts I saw before Cowards Bend The Knee (2003). Seeing as how it was the only one with a real narrative structure, that has to count for something; given how goddamned confusing said narrative was, I'm not sure how much.

The short tells the sad tale of a Mexican woman who has lost her husband, and in order to bring him back (and hence save her daughter, the beautiful Dolores, from killing herself), she has to best Death, the Eater of Souls, in hand-to-hand combat — in this case, in the wrestling ring.

The movie's not exactly straight-up-and-down, but it's not supposed to be. Told in the style of an old 1920s silent movie — with no dialogue, rather title cards popping up and explaining what's going on — it's just a pointless story, told in a breathless, gee-whiz fashion, much as you can imagine some old potboiler short would have been way back when. It jumps about in frantic fashion, with dramatic music and vibrant colours of the mustache-twirling-bad-guy-tying-someone-to-the-railroad-tracks ilk. Apart from the obvious hilarity inherent in having a middle-aged Mexican woman wrestling Death, there are some rather amusing visual gags, and the whole thing is just a rollicking tale which is short, sharp, and quite fun.

Bloody confusing, mind, but quite fun.

mino gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 9 Aug 2004

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 3
Average rating: 6.00
Lowest rating: 5 (by mino)
Highest rating: 7 (by andy-j)
Rating Percentage

Reader comments

No-one has commented on this movie yet.

Add a comment

Your name:
Email address:
Make public?
Anti-Spam question:To prove you're not a horrible spam-leaving robot, please answer the following question (use numbers):
If I won 11 Best Original Screenplay Oscars but Jack Palance accidentally read out Marisa Tomei's name when I won 7 of those Best Original Screenplay Oscars, how many Best Original Screenplay Oscars did I actually take home?
Rate this movie:

You may use the <em>emphasis</em> and <strong>strong emphasis</strong> HTML tags. URLs beginning with ‘http://’ will be turned into links. Line breaks will display as entered.