Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:
“The Last Circus” starts out as an allegory of Franco’s Spain, focusing on a sad, timid clown who’s having trouble making his way in the local circus. Fat and cursed with Roger Ebert glasses, he’s forever being physically and sexually humiliated by his superior, a sadistic “funny” clown who spends his off hours boinking — and beating — the outfit’s sexy trapeze artist. This segment is also a send up of circus movies past, both the creepy-masochistic ones of Lon Chaney and the sticky, lovelorn ones of Chaplin and Fellini. But director Alex de la Iglesia quickly bores of this tack, and he allows the movie to skip the rails entirely, turning it into a bonkers struggle between vengeful freaks — a manic recapitulation of Tim Burton’s Batman films. Iglesia may be lousy with narrative (does he even care about telling a coherent story?), but he’s a whiz with oddball rhythms, character details, and social observations. I particularly admired a scene in a restaurant, peripheral to the movie as a whole, which is like a miniature of domestic futility: a balding, henpecked man chooses meals for his kids, and they repeatedly change their orders just as he delivers them to the cashier. This, you think, is how our clowns would end up if they ever succeeded in winning the girl — dickering over Fantas at a fast food counter.
“The Last Circus” is available on Netflix Instant.