Based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s best-selling series of novels, the epic ALATRISTE is the most expensive Spanish-language film ever made in Spain, and every céntimo shows in the ensemble cast, stirring battle scene set-pieces and evocative design and cinematography. Mortensen plays the revered 17th century soldier of few words but large actions, veteran of some of Spain’s greatest encounters. But the influence of the Spanish empire is waning and Alatriste finds himself back in a changed, corrupt homeland, responsible for a young squire (Ugalde) and surviving as a sword-for-hire. A certain beauty of repute also occupies his attentions (Gil). Languidly epic in tone, the film’s design echoes the novels’ veneration for Velázquez, with beautifully composed and lit imagery throughout. Mortensen speaks his own Spanish, souvenir of years spent in South America.