Urban Cinefile
"I get lots of roles the American stars don't want to do. American stars don't want to kill the baby. I'll kill the baby. I'll kill any baby for a good part."  -Terence Stamp
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday July 21, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



When a delusional young man (Johnny Depp) who thinks he is the great Spanish lover Don Juan De Marco attempts to end his life by jumping from a billboard, soon-to-be-retired psychiatrist Jack Mickler (Marlon Brando) intervenes and, after talking him down, is given the job of curing him. As he begins to delve into the life of this mysterious boy, Dr. Mickler becomes beguiled by the romantic escapades and detailed love life of his patient, which not only results in a new-found resurgence in his own love life with wife Marilyn (Faye Dunaway), but also sparks questions in his mind about the true identity of Don Juan.

Review by Craig Miller:
Writer/director Jeremy Leven's view on modern-day love and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy, does give his 1995 directorial debut, Don Juan De Marco, plenty of emotional depth and heart, but as a feature it struggles to deliver a story which completely captures any great feelings of truth.

Visually the film is not in the least inspiring. There are a few nice shots of pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and dirty Mexican Haciendas, but overall it loses much of its appeal thanks to a director with a limited sense of style. Leven has not directed a major motion picture since this effort, and while it is by no means a bad film, it is certainly not a unique experience.

Johnny Depp's spirited performance as the Spanish lover, born in Mexico and now living in the US, is the standout among a cast given very little to do. His accent and mannerisms are perfect and ooze the charm and appeal needed to show real life in his love-soaked character and, seeing him in this, it is hard to imagine anyone else coming close to animating the legendary Latin love-maker.

It's funny, but watching Depp and Brando at work, you could be forgiven for thinking that the legendary performer in this film is Johnny! Brando looks, for the most part, tired and uninterested, and by this stage in his career he seemed content to work as a paycheck actor. But even so, he occasionally shows glimpses of his talents throughout his limited scenes, and his work with Dunaway is by far his best.

A great love story always invokes great passion in others, and the use of one of literature's greatest lovers, in a modern-day setting, proves to be mildly entertaining and, at times, manages to capture the romantic sensibilities of perfect love. It can't transcend a trite script, some lazy dialogue and a terribly weak ending, but it can make them sappy enough for us to forgive them. Just.

Published October 21, 2004

Email this article

(US, 1995)

CAST: Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Rachel Ticotin, Bob Dishy, Gersaldine Palihas

DIRECTOR: Jeremy Leven

SCRIPT: Jeremy Leven

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 1.85:1, 16:9 enhanced, Dolby 2.0 Dolby Digital 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical trailer


DVD RELEASE: October 7, 2004

Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018