That a filmmaker as skilled as Alejandro Amenábar decide to get into television fiction with the miniseries The Fortune (2021), adaptation of the comic El tesoro del Cisne Negro, by screenwriter Guillermo Corral and cartoonist Paco Roca (2018), for AMC and Movistar Plus, should make all enthusiastic moviegoers happy. However, anyone could object with good eyes that this Chilean-born Spanish director has not released anything truly remarkable for at least twelve years.
He struck out at the Goya Awards with his debut film, the overrated Thesis (1996), which was followed by the acceptable Abre los ojos (1997), the monumental ones The others (2001) and Out to sea (2004), which triumphed at the Goya and, the second, at the Oscars as well, the interesting Ágora (2009), the cold but very honest Regresión (2015) and the wasted but very dignified While the War lasts (2019).
The first thing we must say about La Fortuna is that Alejandro Amenábar has realized, like any spectator who is very giddy, that it is completely impossible that his initial sequence does not bring to mind that of Titanic (James Cameron, 1997) ; and the solves with impeccable intelligence.
An agile miniseries but without the nerve of Alejandro Amenábar
However, despite the evident talent of the director, we could fear that he would miss the jump from the big screen to the small one. But he is seen quite easily in this medium; perhaps because before the cinematographic perspective jumped to the television environment and, by now, the Spanish production companies have found out and today they have all the resources they need to offer us such a tight planning. However, it is he who he fills it with subtle agility and audiovisual coherence.
Even so, Alejandro Amenábar should have worked out the temporary transition of La Fortuna; at least, in the first instant that it occurs, with a chained montage or even a cut with an association of concepts. What’s more, the narrative lacks nerve; especially, to the nineteenth-century part; and we can hardly be moved by the legitimate commitment of the protagonists without it and without the knack for sparkling dialogue from a guy like Aaron Sorkin (Some Good Men).
It is not that Alejandro Hernández and the director himself can be considered blankets in this sense, of course; of the second, we already know, and the signature of the other is in the scripts of Habana Blues (Benito Zambrano, 2005), Caníbal, Todos las mujeres (Manuel Martín Cuenca, Mariano Barroso, 2013), The author (Martín Cuenca, 2017), While the war or Adú lasts (Salvador Calvo, 2020), and for the last five he has obtained Goya nominations and a statuette. But you do not live on income with new projects.
A cast that delivers and an ambivalent soundtrack
The work of the cast is always credible but never fabulous, so we leave it in that you can not make Álvaro Mel (The other look) ugly as Álex Ventura, or Ana Polvorosa (My great night) incarnating Lucía, or Clarke peters (The Wire) in the shoes of Jonas Pierce, nor to Stanley tucci (The Slevin case) as Frank Wild, neither Karra Elejalde (They look at us) playing the Minister of Culture nor T’Nia Miller (The Curse of Bly Manor), Manolo Solo (30 coins), Pedro Casablanc (White Lines) or Blanca Portillo (Seven French Pool Tables) as Susan McLean, Horacio Valverde, the ambassador of Spain and Ceta.
On the other hand, Alejandro Amenábar’s taste for opera is felt once again in La Fortuna, and the indications that he must have given to Roque Baños (Crimen ferpecto) to compose the soundtrack, mostly adequate and with some vibrating string sheet music, again suffer from those naive wind notes that we hear when a character makes a solemn speech, very typical of certain more or less academic Hollywood dramas. And it is not that these speeches lack eloquence, be careful, but they suffer a little because of this matter.
The candor and the hasty narration of ‘La Fortuna’
It is not the only thing like that. The miniseries is shown innocent in general, and there are other details of that style exacerbated in certain interactions, and some even ridiculous, that seem quite inappropriate for a filmmaker with almost thirty years of artistic career. As impertinent as the repetition of some musical theme, we could add. Most episodes end on high, yes, with a very conscious auction of the task; and there is no room for hesitation that the filmmaker has understood the virtue of the unpredictable in the AMC and Movistar Plus series.
There are hardly any twists that the public can anticipate regardless of where it is headed for the tone, and that is appreciated. And perhaps the best decision of Alejandro Amenábar and Hernández as scriptwriters of La Fortuna supposes what is probably to respect the thread of the story in the comic. A) Yes, rush the chances of your intrigue as if it repelled it with a ham knife. In this way, it satisfies us; but it remains in a brief television fiction that not dislike to whom we value its director but neither does he fall in love not a tad or, of course, even the bars.