The leads had me before the first credits rolled in “Truman”. First Ricardo Darin, who had been fantastic in his vignette, La Bomba, in 2014’s “Wild Tales”, delivers another memorable performance. But pairing him with Almodovar muse, Javier Camara (Talk to Her, I’m So Excited), was casting gold.
The premise is admittedly off-putting because cancer, really? But the reunion of two old friends over the course of four days in Madrid, with a lunch date in Amsterdam, hits every note with authenticity and authority. The plot itself is background. What’s foreground is the friendship between two “real” men and how they push against all the socialization that works to keep them from really connecting. Until it doesn’t. Quite.
Watch their faces in that extraordinary early scene when Tomas arrives at Julian’s apartment. Two men in their fifties, one Spanish, one Argentinean, old friends who haven’t seen each other in years. Watch their eyes, their postures, how they warm in the sight of each other after all this time. And then how they both pause before going in for a hug. The movie follows their four days as Julian, a star of Argentinean theatre, is putting his affairs in order having decided to stop treatment for lung cancer. Truman, his patient bull mastiff, needs a home and that’s the through line of the piece, but along the way it touches on all Julian’s relationships.
The film itself, the writing, the cinematography, the lighting, the mood of it are all pitch perfect but it’s the performances of these two gifted actors that take it over the top