Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
Jonathan (Melvil Poupaud) is an imaginative young man. This film unveils what goes on in his mind as he mulls over his recent reading of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic Treasure Island and the television adventure shows he is watching. This story device allows the highly regarded and very innovative Chilean-born director Raul Ruiz to transform Stevenson's classic adventure tale into a much darker and more complex depiction of treachery and hidden identities. Distributors and producers were not entranced by this transformation, and money for completing the film was withheld, so despite its completion date of 1986, this version, which evinces numerous technical and other problems, was not released until 1991. Gaps in the sometimes confusing storyline are dealt with in a voiceover narrative. Ruiz' work has usually met with a warmer reception, but in this case it received a great deal of (possibly well-deserved) ridicule. One high point of the film, however, is when Pedro Armendariz Jr., as Mendoza, recounts the story of Herman Melville's less-well-known novel Benito Cereno.