Without a pageboy hairdo, Javier Bardem’s a darn sight more Latin-lover here than he was in No Country For Old Men. He transcends the generic as a poet knocking around cholera-struck Columbia, waiting for the woman of his dreams (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) after she weds a respected doctor (Benjamin Bratt). Waiting… for 50 years. In the meantime, he dulls his longing with 622 sexual conquests – which isn’t as interesting as it sounds.
The fine cast can’t lift Mike Newell’s plodding adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez’s haunting masterpiece. Though the dialogue retains shadows of brilliance, the visuals don’t come near the novel’s lavish language. Watching the characters swoon about Cartagena has some pleasure, but the aerial landscape shots make this feel more like a Columbia tourism promo than an ode to passion.