An email I received from a press contact described the film "The Last Circus" as "probably the most surreal, epic and bat-s--t crazy film you will ever see featuring a violent clown love triangle ..."

An email I received from a press contact described the film "The Last Circus" as "probably the most surreal, epic and bat-s--t crazy film you will ever see featuring a violent clown love triangle ..."

That doesn't quite do it justice.

Over-the-top and delightfully all over the place, it could have played as parody. Instead it's more "genre homage with clowns."

We open on a clown performance in 1937. In the midst of the Spanish Civil War, a happy clown is forced into battle by a militia. Still in costume and given a machete, he massacres an entire platoon of Nationalists.

Yep.

We then move to 1973, near the end of Franco's rule. The clown's son has followed his dad's footsteps into the clown industry. He joins a traveling circus and soon finds himself in a bizarre love triangle with the thuggish Happy Clown and a beautiful trapeze artist.

Director Alex de la Iglesia adds plenty of graphic violence and sex to this already bizarre mix, but there's real craftsmanship here.

The film is gorgeously shot, and as it bounces from set piece to set piece, there are moments that evoke everything from "Saving Private Ryan" to "Reservoir Dogs."

Toss in some pointed political satire. And clowns. It's a weird winner.