Set in both the brutal Spanish Civil War and the tail end of the Franco regime, The Last Circus follows Javier (Areces), a second-generation clown who dreams to follow in his father's footsteps as a Happy Clown but has seen too much tragedy and suffering in his life to be anything but its counterpart. 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 (de la Torre), who humiliates Javier daily in the name of entertainment. Included in the menage is Natalia (Bang), a gorgeous acrobat and abused wife of Sergio. Javier quickly falls deeply in love with her and attempts to rescue her from her tyrannical Happy Clown husband. However, Natalia is torn between her affection for Javier and her violent lust for Sergio. (Gary Reber)
Special features include three featurettes: a making of (SD 14:44), behind the scenes in five segments (SD 07:28), and visual effects (SD 10:09); the U.S. trailer; the international trailer; the international teaser; and up-front previews.
The 2.36:1 1080p AVC picture is stylized and very engaging. Saturation consistency varies dramatically from virtually black-and-white to vividness. When saturated, the color palette is rich and warm, with hues that pop. Fleshtones generally appear naturally toned. Contrast is often excellent, with deep, solid blacks and nicely resolved shadow delineation. Resolution is superb throughout, with fine nuanced detail visible in every scene. The imagery is imaginative and, at times, shocking, but the picture quality is always superb. (Gary Reber)
The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is nicely produced with an excellent recorded orchestral music score, with terrific fidelity. Rogue Banos' music sweeps across the soundstage and extends deep into the surrounds. Atmospherics and sound effects, including Foley, are well recorded with an effective dimensional quality. Dialogue is well recorded, with a convincing spatial integrity. There is a powerful and natural low-frequency foundation to the soundtrack, with at times, deep-bass extension in the .1 LFE channel. The energy, with support from the music score, builds with an impressive dynamic quality. The forest scene is fantastic in terms of sonic dimensionality and impact. This is a terrific soundtrack that won't disappoint. The Spanish language version is the real deal and should be preferred. (Gary Reber)