Veronica is driving in northwestern Argentina when her mobile phone distracts her and she runs over something—but drives on. The police confirm that there was no accident, but Veronica begins to have a meltdown, thinking she may have killed someone. Was it an animal? A child? Or nothing at all?
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The Car becomes an element of separation: there are those on the inside and those on the outside. Outside they either clean it, help unloading it or get killed by it. When passing the bridge, the girl asks her mom to close the window, ‘cause it smells bad – there's only a money-mediated "contact" between them. Yesterday gets repaired into today: "Is that your original color?"– "I don't remember, It's been so long..."
Martel's point of view makes anybody envious. She's got a really great sense of storytelling economy, and a breath-taking focus on sound. She really knows how to take advantage of soundscapes and off-screen action. This movie shows all of her talent.
If Martel's cinema provokes rejection or confusion in some, it does so because the audience prefers its pre-established and perceptive system. Here form is content and nothing has been put in the film to impress. Each frame is a work of art in itself; a visual pleasure, a meditation full of meaning on the expressive possibilities of cinema, a virtuoso interaction among multiple textures of images and level of sounds
My first approach towards this and its puzzling storyline was rather cynical (I must admit), but when I realised Lucrecia Martel knew exactly what she was doing, I became a victim of its characters' mysterious internal psychology and slowly felt hypnotised by its masterfulness. It deserves a second, third or even a fourth re-watch.
Social subtext not particularly poingnant, but Martel's refusal to make anything explicit within the narrative eerily reflects the protagonist's denial and alienation. The strong central performance and almost subliminal unfolding of the "mystery" through banal moments of seamless routine packs more punch than ten Jack Nicholsons screaming "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"
A little bit of class warfare. The performance by María Onetto is incredible. You don't know too much about where her head was before the accident, but the subtle transformation to what she becomes is remarkable.