"Carmen," starring Paul Mescal and Melissa Barrera, finally opened last week in New York and Los Angeles after debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

The take on the famous opera was shot in Australia at the start of 2021, and the reviews have been mixed.

The New York Times wasn’t impressed, nor was Variety, but a critic at RogerEbert.com gave it three and a half stars, calling the chemistry between the two stars as “sizzling.”

Mescal “continues to be one of the most arresting actors in film today," said the Ebert scribe. "No one is better at using posture and movement to define a character."

As per Sony Pictures Classics, "'Carmen' follows a young and fiercely independent woman who is forced to flee her home in the Mexican desert following the brutal murder of her mother.

"Carmen (Melissa Barrera) survives a terrifying and dangerous illegal border crossing into the US, only to be confronted by a lawless volunteer border guard, who cold-bloodedly murders two other immigrants in her group.

"When the border guard and his patrol partner, Aidan (Paul Mescal)—a Marine with PTSD—become embroiled in a deadly standoff, Carmen and Aidan are forced to escape together. They make their way north towards Los Angeles in search of Carmen’s mother’s best friend, the mercurial Masilda (Rossy De Palma) and owner of La Sombra nightclub - a sanctuary of music and dance.

"Carmen and Aidan find both solace and their unwavering love for one another in the safety of Masilda’s magical refuge, but time is running out as the police hunt closes in."

You can watch the trailer for "Carmen" here:

Mexican actress Barrera, best known for her roles in the "Scream" franchise, told People that working with her Irish co-star was a dream. Mescal, 27, was “so supportive and comforting; you just feel safe with him. It's so easy to connect with him. And it was beautiful to get to share this with him.”

The role of Aidan was a stretch for Oscar nominee Mescal, who had to perfect his singing and dancing, but Barrera was impressed by how he made the leap.

"He can move, and he's strong and very graceful," she said. "So even though he had never danced in this capacity before, he's a natural. And he's one of those actors that are just good at everything. Probably he could do anything."

Mescal's performance of "Slip Away," one of the songs he sings in "Carmen," has been making the rounds online. He plays guitar too, and he’s not bad. His sister Nell is a talented musician with 61,000 followers on Instagram, and Paul has on occasion appeared in some of her videos.

Check out Paul Mescal performing "Slip Away" here:

"Carmen" opened in three theaters in the US last week and grossed just shy of $13k. So it’s got a long way to go to make a profit.

*This column first appeared in the April 26 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.