Actor-director Andy Garcia was 5 1/2 when his family fled Havana in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, and spent 16 years trying to produce this adaptation of Guillermo Cabrera Infante's acclaimed historical novel Three Trapped Tigers. The close-knit Fellove family represents the best and brightest of Havana society: Patriarch Federico Fellove (Tomas Milian) is a respected university professor, his wife Dona Cecelia (Millie Perkins) the epitome of a devoted mother and gracious hostess, and his childless brother, Donoso (Richard Bradford), owns a tobacco plantation. Don Federico's eldest son, man-about-town Fico (Garcia), owns the popular El Tropico nightclub and shares his father's and uncle's hands-off political philosophy leaders come, leaders go, and the best way to deal with dictators like President Fulgencio Batista (Juan Fernandez) is to wait them out. But impatient Luis (Nestor Carbonell), the youngest, supports the insurrection Che Guevara (Jsu Garcia) and Fidel Castro are fomenting among Cuba's poor and disenfranchised, while quiet middle sibling Ricardo's (Enrique Murciano) revolutionary sympathies come to light when his distraught wife, Aurora (Ines Sastre), tells Fico she thinks he's having an affair Fico discovers instead that Ricardo has joined the anti-Batista 26th of July Movement. Ricardo is killed shortly after, and Luis joins the guerilla army in the Sierra Maestra. After Battista decamps on New Year's Eve 1959, the dissolution of the Felloves begins in earnest. Fico and Aurora's blossoming relationship is undermined by her growing involvement with the cause, El Tropico is targeted as a corrupt vestige of capitalist decadence, Donoso has a heart attack when Luis informs him his plantation is being collectivized, and brutal revolutionary justice is meted out to longtime family friend Captain Castel (Steven Bauer). Garcia's aching nostalgia for the glittering Havana of his dreams is palpable, but he winds up painting by the same "doomed romance against a backdrop of revolution" numbers as piffle like DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS (2005). On the evidence of Garcia's labor of love, prerevolutionary Havana was a fever dream of pulsing rhythms, bountiful family feasts, ladies in designer dresses and elegant bon vivants. In fact, it comes perilously close to bemoaning the overthrow of Batista's government because it impoverished privileged families like the Felloves. Bill Murray plays the secondary role of a nameless American gag writer brimming with one-liners about the absurdity of Cuban life, Dustin Hoffman has a cameo as kvetching gangster Meyer Lansky, and Elizabeth Pena essays the thankless part of a revolutionary demagogue who denounces the saxophone as a symbol of colonial oppression.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: R
- Review: Actor-director Andy Garcia was 5 1/2 when his family fled Havana in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, and spent 16 years trying to produce this adaptation of Guillermo Cabrera Infante's acclaimed historical novel Three Trapped Tigers. The close-knit Fellov… (more)