Under the Volcano

1984

Drama

4
IMDb Rating 7 10 4981

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 23, 2021 at 06:38 PM

Director

Cast

Jacqueline Bisset as Yvonne Firmin
Albert Finney as Geoffrey Firmin
Anthony Andrews as Hugh Firmin
Katy Jurado as Senora Gregoria
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1 GB
1280*714
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 52 min
P/S 5 / 27
1.86 GB
1920*1072
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 52 min
P/S 10 / 28

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Quinoa1984 10 / 10

a man's alcoholic descent into hell over one day's time turns out as superlative film-making and acting

Under the Volcano could have made as just another 'Lost Weekend' film if not for the attention to a simple narrative (though one that has a lot underneath the surface), and a performance to compellingly take us through the unbalanced emotional state of its protagonist. From what I've read about what the novel became by this adaptation, Huston took out the big poetic bits that made it such an unclassifiable (and as many claimed unadaptable) work and made it into a tale of a man's downfall from grace and good times. The story is as such: Geoffrey Firmin (Finney) is a recently retired consul in Mexico who has that big, admirable personality that comes with those who have lived- or boasted to live- quite a life, and have taken now to mass consumptions of alcohol. It's not even about the enjoyment of it, but a compulsion for 'balance' to drink just to get sober, as it might be. He's also divorced, recently, but his wife (Bisset) comes to him again, wanting once more to patch things up.

This is set in the backdrop of the 'Day of the Dead' festival, and on the brink of world war 2, but these things are, however brilliantly and as a kind of delicate lining around, a backdrop for the emotional and mental and, it should be noted, spiritual struggle of Firmin. Huston never preaches about this man's rotting addiction, and there's no easy sympathy either. We see his emotional state rock from happy and hopeful to the pits of despair following the bullfight his half-brother Hugh (Andrews) takes part in, where he can't basically grasp his own reality anymore. Underneath this surface of the film though, where we're given this proud, unstable character, there's chaos riling about, attached in a way to the mood around, with rumored Nazi collaborators in the midst of things, a near-murdered body on the side of the road, the matter-of-fact metaphors of the symbols of death that (as Huston makes in one of the most Gothic openings to a movie I've ever seen) opens the film with marionette skeletons to an eerie Alex North score.

But lest to say that all credit should go to Huston for his storytelling. It's an interesting film for the first three quarters, though in a way feels like it has to be building for something; here and there, even as we're with these character wandering in a state of mind of disarray (will Firmin and Yvonne stay together, split apart, who will run away are the basic questions, as well as how Andrews might have something to do with it on either side), it starts to feel like it could become meandering. In that last quarter, however, Huston lays on a feeling of dread, maybe not entirely with coincidence, that hasn't been seen since Treasure of the Sierra Madre- something bad just HAS to happen, and it will come out through the worst devils of the protagonist's nature. There is that for Huston, the power of that brothel sequence, the terror and even the dark humor.

The best reason above all else, even as it's one of Huston's most challenging films, is that Finney is so terrific in the role. It's a startling work of an actor taking down his guard, making himself vulnerable and naked, so to speak, to the discord booze has brought to his mind. He gets depth to a guy that should be just another Hemingway figure, of the sorrow that really lies in every little moment and gesture and inflection. It also goes without saying he's one of the top three or four convincing drinkers in modern film. And at the same time it's not easy to peg what he'll do next as an actor, which step he might cross or double-back on. While his co-stars are very good in their parts, he dares to overshadow them with a tour-de-force. Under the Volcano pits its character into hell, and Huston brings us, without going overboard with stylistic flourishes, right along with him.

Reviewed by Keylimepie 8 / 10

The real deal

This film is to Leaving Las Vegas as The Howling is to Little Red Riding Hood. Under The Volcano is the most grindingly real portrayal of the true devastation of alcoholism ever put on film (I've seen them all from Lost Weekend forward). This is no romantic movie where a guy decides he will go to Vegas and drink himself to death in 6 weeks then meets a devastatingly gorgeous chick who takes care of him the rest of the way. In this film the real horrors of alcohol are convincingly portrayed as the main character loses all track of reality and cannot tell whether his wife is really her or a hallucination. And because of that intermittent fading out and in, he loses the one chance he might have had at redemption. There is no romance here. There is no fabulous girl to have sex with while he's dying. This guy lives in a world so much more terrifying than Nic Cage's world in LLV as to be about two entirely different human experiences.

Not everyone will be able to stand this. It's almost unremittingly awful. But for anyone who is an alcoholic, recovering or otherwise, or who has lived under its shadow as someone related to or in love with an alcoholic, this is textbook stuff. Malcolm Lowery was an alcoholic and died of the disease. He put all he had into this book. No punches are pulled. The benchmark of the genre.

Reviewed by LukeTheSame 9 / 10

Underrated Masterpiece

This is a fairly forgotten gem from the mid-80s, based on the classic and tragic novel of the same name. The film is also the legendary John Huston's third last movie as a director. Taking place in Mexico during the festival known as the Day of the Dead, the film also works against a backdrop of the early days of WWII, and explores the fragmented love triangle between a former British diplomat (Albert Finney), his estranged wife (Jacqueline Bisset), and his adventurous journalist brother (Anthony Andrews).

Under the Volcano starts out slowly, following the corpse-like wandering of retired diplomat Geoffrey Firmin as he explores the Day of the Dead and seeks out booze to feed his alcoholism. We're given various clues as to what has left him in such a sodden and rambling state, and we learn that his wife divorced him from abroad. Geoffrey proceeds to drink himself into oblivion, and into the fray enters his erstwhile wife Yvonne... testing the waters as it were for a possible reconciliation. Geoffrey's brother Hugh, recently returned from the Spanish civil war, is at a loss as to where he fits in with regards to their relationship, and also in regards to the world itself. The three decide to take a day trip out of town, with Yvonne and Hugh unsure of where Geoffrey's health and state of mind will literally lead them.

This film is a rambling, elegaic swansong to suntouched dreams fortified by alcohol. These three people try to outrun their demons and replace their mistakes with hollow new plans - Yvonne hopes to start her life anew, but Geoffrey's disgracefully drunken state makes him an unpredictable quantity to bank on, especially in regards to whether he can forgive her for the adultery that left him in such a state. Geoffrey tells a story at one point about a colonial named Blackstone, a man who turned native and disliked the puritans who tried to save him so much that he simply just disappeared into the wilderness. There's obviously something about this story that appeals to Geoffrey as he seems to identify with Blackstone so much that he later tells strangers that it's his name, and you can't help but feel that this is the only solution to the problems at hand that he can truly grasp at. Bubbling underneath the surface of the film all this time is a slowly building sense of doom highlighted by the coming of WWII, the ominous woodwind score, and the film's title itself. Geoffrey alludes to a horrific war story at several points, drawing comparisons with the 30s horror film Mad Love (referred to here as The Hands of Orlac) with his belief that "Some things you can't apologise for", and this quote echoes throughout the film whenever the main characters are forced to come face to face with each other's mistakes.

This won't be a film to everyone's taste, it starts out as something approaching a travel-drama but kind of mutates into outright tragedy in it's second half. At the core of Under the Volcano is a staggering performance from Albert Finney as the drunken diplomat. Finney was more than rightfully nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award for his realistic depiction of the life of a hopeless drunk... full of whimsy and cheer and rambling anecdotes, treading a fine line between absolute tankdom and lucidness, and tapping into all kinds of ambivalent emotions that would be far too challenging to a less complex and accomplished actor. Too often the drunk in film is shown as either a figure for comedy, fear or tragedy, but never are they shown as realistically as Finney's characterisation here. I could see shades of every pathetic and hilarious drunk I've ever met at a pub or a party in Under the Volcano's Geoffrey Firmin, and the film makes no compromises whatsoever in showing this for what it is. One of the best performances in film.

HIGHLIGHTS: There's nothing quite like a sinister Mexican dwarf grinning while he makes obscene gestures with his hands. I found this bit to be quite offputting and creepy.

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