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"The Liberator": Simon Bolivar V. Spain 

Tuesday, Sep 30 2014

Alberto Arvelo's The Liberator is a big sprawling biopic about legendary revolutionary Simon Bolivar (Édgar Ramírez). It follows Bolivar from his life of wealth and comfort as a young man in Napoleon's fancy-pants Paris to his decades-long struggle in often impossibly harsh conditions to free Latin America from colonial Spanish rule and to create a united South American nation, whether everyone else in South America necessarily wants it or not. The Liberator makes no attempt to avoid the well-worn clichés of its genre, instead happily wallowing in them. This includes but is not limited to young lovers frolicking in fields, to topless sex with ladies so that the audience doesn't get any wrong ideas from the comparison to Alexander the Great in the opening titles, wide helicopter shots of sunset vistas, more than a few inspirational speeches to the masses about the many and varied virtues of freedom, truly violent battles with icky gore, political intrigue, and some comic relief now and again. (When Bolivar looks like shit, you'd best believe someone tells him as much.) The Liberator is beautifully shot, but its real strength is Ramírez's performance of Bolivar as a charismatic but grounded leader; that Ramírez is playing the Patrick Swayze role in the upcoming Point Break remake now makes even more sense.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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