The Last Circus (Balada Triste de Trompeta) Review

Movie: The Last Circus (Balada Triste de Trompeta)
By: Maniac E
Date: June 22, 2011

A twisted story from clown to clown

This is not so much a horror movie as many would concider it but, there are a lot of aspects to cover this. This Spanish movie goes to show the Spanish can make movies. Director Álex de la Iglesia makes sure we get a unforgettable thrill ride with a war, love, circus and mad clowns!

1937, Spain is in the midst of the brutal Spanish Civil War. A "Happy" circus clown is interrupted mid-performance and forcibly recruited by a militia. Still in his costume, he is handed a machete and led into battle against National soldiers, where he single handedly massacres an entire platoon. This absurd and disturbing scenario raises the curtain on a twisted tale of love, revenge, and psychopathic clowns that could only spring from the mind of filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia.

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Fast forward to 1973, the tail end of the Franco regime. Javier, the son of the clown, dreams of following in his father's career footsteps, but has seen too much tragedy in his life - he's simply not funny and is only equipped to play the role of the Sad Clown. He finds work in a circus where he befriends an outlandish cast of characters, but as the Sad Clown he must take the abuse of the brutish Happy Clown Sergio, who humiliates Javier daily in the name of entertainment.

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It is here that he meets Natalia, a gorgeous acrobat, and abused wife of Sergio. Javier falls deeply in love with Natalia and tries to rescue her from her cruel and violent husband, unleashing Sergio's jealousy. But Natalia is torn between her affection towards Javier, and her lust for Sergio. With neither man willing to back down, this twisted love triangle evolves into a ferocious battle between Sad Clown and Happy Clown.

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With the story telling out of the way you still can’t really see that this movie is more absurd than you might read now. To give an indication: right from the first scene, where a clown is forced to fight in the Spanish Civil War. The clown kills masses of soldiers, all waving around a machete and even comical effect, we see how he breaches into the battlefield with his big clown shoes. Balada Triste The trompeta is visually delightful and exuberantly colorful, making the a marvel to behold. The whole way of portraying the clowns and their thoughts and to what extent they want to go to achieve their ultimate life goals is a blast.

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The script is just as bizarre and absurd as the visual style, but is just too incoherent to really take in the story to let go. This makes it quite tiring to the series of bizarre plot twists to behold. The absurd aspect is clearly not for everyone. Can you laugh at a clown who burns his own face with an iron, then picks up two machine guns and with a maniacal laugh wildly starts shooting? Then you will enjoy this over the top historical movie. It just sounds too crazy for you, then chances are you won’t like the movie that much, despite its great visual style, a lot less interesting.



The Last Circus (Balada Triste de Trompeta)


The Last Circus (Balada Triste de Trompeta)


Álex de la Iglesia






Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Carolina Bang, Manuel Tallafé