The Last Circus is an extremely well made, masterpiece of a Spanish movie that is gruesome, grotesque, disturbing and darkly funny all at the same time. It's mostly a love triangle between a trapeze artist, Natalie and Happy Clown and Sad Clown, but it's also about politics, obsession, social status and human dignity among many other things. I'm sure I would have gotten even more out of the film if I knew anything about Spanish history, especially during WWII, but it was so packed full of psychological drama, insanity and Christian symbolism that it was more than enough to make a strong impression.
Since it's a Spanish movie I had to read the English subtitles, which I don't usually like to do because I start paying more attention to the text than the scene; however, the story and acting was so gripping, I barely remember having read the subtitles. This is the darkest clown movie I've ever seen. Some of the scenes made me laugh because of the intense gruesomeness, while some were just plain funny. There were a couple of scenes that made me almost feel ashamed for laughing because the characters were at such low desperate points in their lives.
Both clowns were obsessive revenge seekers, intent on coming out on top no matter what the cost. Natalie, the love interest and trapeze artist, was just as obsessive playing the two clowns against each other and getting off on her high-risk provocative manipulating.
A main theme of this movie is the need and desire to win, but nobody wins in this movie.