Under the Volcano (1984)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 112 min.  |   Countries - Mexico , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Michael Betzold

Malcolm Lowry's subtle, challenging novel about Mexico on the eve of World War II was a difficult book to turn into a film. Veteran director John Huston, at age 78, brought his own gift for examining madness to the project. The story is about a drunken British ex-consul to Mexico whose life becomes increasingly disoriented during the celebration of the Day of the Dead in 1939. His ex-wife pays a visit, but her affair with his half-brother plunges him deeper into despair. Albert Finney was Oscar-nominated for his haunting, vivid performance as a man whose wretchedness knows no bounds. Many lovers of the book believed that the story had been turned into little more than a long, drunken monologue. Other critics reveled in Huston's ability to make even ordinary scenes seem hallucinogenic.