Havana 57

Watch Havana 57

  • TV-14
  • 2013
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 5.5  (98)

Havana 57, released in 2012, is a stylish and suspenseful noir film set in Cuba during the 1950s, a time of political upheaval and social change. The movie centers on the character of Rubén Velez (Juan Riedinger), a young American detective who arrives in Havana to investigate the mysterious death of a nightclub owner, his friend and exiled Cuban activist Mario (Sebastian Villada). Rubén is quickly submerged in the vibrant, colorful, and dangerous world of the Cuban capital, where revolution, corruption, and greed coexist in an explosive mix.

The opening scenes of Havana 57 immediately set the tone for the film, mixing nostalgic images of 1950s Havana with the gritty reality of violence and oppression. The camera captures the bustling streets, the grand hotels, the flashy cars, the elegant dancers, and the sultry music, all of which contrast sharply with the bruised bodies, blood-stained pavements, and ominous shadows. The soundtrack, composed by Hilario Durán, adds to the atmosphere with its jazzy rhythms and melancholic melodies.

As the plot unfolds, Rubén meets various characters who are entangled in the case of Mario's death. These include Luisa (Elisabetta Fantone), a beautiful singer who used to work at Mario's club and who becomes Rubén's love interest; Batista (Paulino Nunes), a corrupt police officer who is more interested in maintaining his power than in solving crimes; and Carlos (Mauricio Rivera), a young revolutionary leader who is committed to overthrowing the Batista regime but has his own secret agenda. Rubén also encounters a cast of secondary characters who provide comic relief, such as the sassy waitress Tita (Isabelle Giroux) and the eccentric photographer George (William Colgate).

As Rubén delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of deceit, jealousy, and betrayal. He discovers that Mario was not only a rebel leader but also a man who had many enemies, including his own sister Ana (Ana Golja), who has her eyes set on taking over the club and eliminating anyone who stands in her way. Rubén also learns about the hidden motives and conflicts of the other characters, whose lives are intertwined in unexpected ways. The plot is full of twists and turns, and the tension builds up gradually until the final moments, when the truth is revealed.

What makes Havana 57 stand out is not only its plot but its visual and symbolic richness. The film is a feast for the eyes, with its sumptuous cinematography by Santiago Benet Mari, who captures the glamour and decay of Havana with equal skill. The art direction by Laura Talbott enhances the period flavor with its attention to detail, from the vintage clothing to the political posters. The movie also contains many symbolic motifs, such as the recurring image of the Santeria religion, which reflects the fusion of African and Cuban cultures and adds a mystical dimension to the story. The film also touches on the themes of identity, loyalty, and justice, asking whether it is possible to remain true to oneself and one's ideals in a world of greed and violence.

The acting in Havana 57 is uniformly excellent, with Juan Riedinger giving a compelling performance as the conflicted detective Rubén, who has to confront not only the external obstacles but his own demons. Elisabetta Fantone shines as the glamorous and enigmatic Luisa, who has her own agenda but also has a heart. Paulino Nunes is convincing as the brutal and corrupt Batista, who represents the dark side of power. Sebastian Villada and Ana Golja, as Mario and Ana, respectively, are also memorable in their roles.

In conclusion, Havana 57 is a gem of a movie that deserves to be better known. It combines the elements of classic film noir with a Cuban twist, creating a unique and memorable experience. It is a movie that celebrates Havana's history and culture, while also acknowledging its complexities and contradictions. It is a movie that entertains, educates, and inspires.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.5  (98)