Javier Bardem was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Before Night Falls, another of those films that slipped by me in the cinema. Why did it slip by? Well it was a film about a writer, and they tend to be pretty unengaging. Writers, on the whole, don’t have very interesting lives*, that’s why they have enough time to write. Now this isn’t strictly true of Reinaldo Arenas, who was slapped in jail and was on the run initially for his homosexuality and then his writing. The films attempts at showing us how great his writing is, and comes across the problem of it being an unsuitable medium for it. So we are left watching because someone has picked this guy as a lead. And Javier Bardem, king of the Spanish actors, plays him as someone you want to watch.

But then along comes Johnny Depp in two very one note parts. And suddenly you wonder how much better a film about a transvestite who can smuggle a whole novel in longhand out of a prison in his anus could be. And there is a sneaking suspicion that this might be even more interesting than the film you are actually watching.

*Feel free to fill the comments box with counters to this bold statement. I can already think of three.