The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
"Twice Born" takes the ravages that countless innocent victims suffered two decades ago in Sarajevo and uses them as the backdrop for a melodramatic, twisty mystery involving lost love and problematic paternity.
Yes, it's all as clunky and tasteless as the description suggests, and the awkward casting doesn't improve this overlong drama.
The normally glamorous Penelope Cruz gets frumped up to star as Gemma, a middle-aged Italian wife and mother. (The film's director and co-writer, Sergio Castellitto, plays her husband, with his real-life son, Pietro Castellitto, uncomfortably playing the couple's sullen teenager.) Despite her plain, shapeless wardrobe, the lined eyes and the gray hairs streaked throughout her sensible bob, glimmers of Cruz's radiance still manage to shine through.
Soon enough, though, we're in for one of a series of extended flashbacks. Gemma receives an early-morning phone call from her old friend, Gojco (the boisterous Adnan Haskovic), urging her to return to Sarajevo. The work of an American photographer with whom she had a tragic romance, Diego (Emile Hirsch), is the subject of an exhibition there. She agrees to visit with her son in tow, theoretically to expose him to a different part of the world but truthfully to stir up further confusion over the identity of his biological father.