starring Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas, Mabel Rivera
screenplay by Alejandro Amenábar, Mateo Gil
directed by Alejandro Amenábar
starring Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix
screenplay by Keir Pearson & Terry George
directed by Terry George
by Walter Chaw Marking the second euthanasia melodrama of the 2004 awards season after Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby, Alejandro Amenábar's peculiar follow-up to The Others is another ghost story of sorts documenting the last, sad days of Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem), made a quadriplegic by a distracted dive into a shallow tide pool. "Shallow pool" could also describe the film, a miserable little gimp-of-the-week exercise awash with clichés and platitudes that the real Sampedro would probably have found condescending and insulting. The Sea Inside (Mar adentro) is the very equivalent of an elementary school teacher taking your hand and helping you find a seat on the short ride to made-for-TV-dom. If not for its unromantic central performance from Bardem, the best actor in the world at this moment, this appallingly sentimental work would be a candidate for the most misguided movie of the year.