In the Heart of the Earth

In the Heart of the Earth

This Spanish period piece is set in 1888 Huelva, an Andalusian mining town run by the British-backed Rio Tinto mining company, where conflict erupts between local Spanish workers and their employers. The story is framed by a friendship between Blanca (Catalina Sandino Moreno, a 2005 Academy Award nominee for her lead role in Maria Full of Grace), a local girl; and Katherine (Sienna Guillory). The latter's father is the mine's British manager, appropriately named Mr. Crown (Bernard Hill). Unfortunately In the Heart of the Earth is about as subtle as that character's name. The film, a world premiere that will close the Miami International Film Festival, is so eager to paint its characters in black or white, it leaves you ready to root for the bad guys. In the Heart of the Earth squanders its lavish production, not to mention ripe historical material, with with its ham-handed refusal to let the story speak for itself. And while Guillory's performance rings true, it's not enough to save Moreno, whose work here might make you question that Oscar nomination. — Frank Houston

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