BEL CANTO (15) HH HHH.
OPERA is the music of love in this hostage drama which is a flat, tuneless and poorly paced exercise of uncertain rhythm which staggers to a muted crescendo.
Julianne Moore is luminous in a formal evening gown as Roxane Coss, an agreeably spiky and unsympathetic US opera singer. However, for such an accomplished actress, Moore's a terrible mime - gifted soprano Renee Fleming is doing the actual singing.
While on a tour of Latin America, her private recital at an embassy is interrupted by revolutionary guerillas who take the international dignitaries hostage.
The surprisingly relaxed regime of the khaki-clad desperadoes leads to some midnight bed-hopping and at its most unintentionally farcical, this could have been named Carry On Up The Junta.
The script assumes opera is a great unifier, so you may feel patronised and excluded if your musical tastes lie elsewhere.
Bullet fire heralds the fat lady singing and it's a welcome relief to the preceding dirge.
Off key: Julianne Moore as Roxanne Coss and Ken Watanabe as Hosokawa