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Under the Volcano Reviews

A bizarre journey into the mystical Mexican underworld in 1939, UNDER THE VOLCANO is set during the morbid holiday known as the Day of the Dead--a day on which the souls of the dead spew forth from hell amid the colorful and lively festivities of the village of Cuernavaca. Geoffrey Firmin (Albert Finney), a former British consul, is there for the celebration, drinking himself to death. The spirit of celebration is alive, but Geoffrey appears lifeless, almost zombielike as he wanders the streets. His former wife, Yvonne (Jacqueline Bisset), arrives, and with the help of Geoffrey's brother, Hugh (Anthony Andrews), tries to get him away from Mexico to a farm in the US, hoping it will curb his drinking. After wandering about the village pathetically for hours on end, Geoffrey slips away and winds up in a sleazy bar-whorehouse, drinking himself into oblivion. Based on the 1947 novel by Malcom Lowry, who began the work in 1936 at the age of 27, UNDER THE VOLCANO has been a project kicked around Hollywood since the book's publication. Lowry, a suicidal alcoholic, wrote the novel without any clear narrative line, relying instead on marvelously visual images, thereby causing many people to label the novel "unfilmable"--until it ended up in the lap of John Huston. The result is very much worth the wait, bringing to life the mysticism of Mexico with a superb script by Guy Gallo, exquisite photography, and the unparalleled performance by Finney.