Shades of the Coen Brothers at their darkest. a thug steals a man's diabetes test, as it's the only thing he has that might possibly be sold at a profit, then goes after his kids. The man, Jorge, finally gets revenge. Quietly suspenseful, the movie shows just what it takes to push an ordinary man to violence, as well as the price exacted. Fine acting by Daniel Candia as Jorge.
"A grim, fat-free revenge thriller ... bearing some of the eerie social disquiet of pre-eminent Chilean auteur Pablo Larrain’s work, though with less symbolic sophistication and political subtext." - Guy Lodge, Variety. For some reason I was unsettled by the dead center framing of nearly every scene and only reluctantly accept the ending. Positives: the film's score and lead's performance. 3.5 stars
Disintegration of a local community and it's barrios "pranksters" affect a worn, but near-sustaining family life to a point of implode of pain, dread and "moral" destruction. After passive (legal), then aggressive (vigil) courses of action ante up to become a tight in your jaw, personal, back-to-primal drama about one mans' peaceful life becoming out of balance when a low down bully exercises his unchecked freedom.
El estilo de la película se siente impostado, siguiendo la fórmula del minimalismo latinoamericano que tanto parece gustar en los festivales de cine del primer mundo. Sin embargo, rescataría del discurso su crítica a la burocracia inoperante del sistema de justicia.
A Variety review called this a "slow burning" revenge story. But the film never reaches full burn, dotted by a minimal use of music (just the ominous sounds of nature), flimsy characters and frequent long shots that distance the viewer. The plot is also minimal -- evil man injures nice guy's son and harasses family, nice guy erupts in anger. We've seen this before. But the artful direction raised this slightly.
Pretty good crime drama, very different from vigilante and revenge films I'm familiar with from the U.S. I liked the contrast between urban and rural settings. Housing projects with strange, zig-zag stairs and enclosed galleries reminded me of factories and mills I remember from small New England towns. I also liked the spooky soundtrack, low notes from oboes or bassoons laid over high strings.
Though it's in fact set in the years before 27th February 2010, this works as an evocation of post-earthquake Chile - sordid, bureaucratic, precarious, dehumanised and hence depressing. Fernández speaks to me far more than the country's genre flicks which, even when well made, invariably deal with the privileged wealthy minority and/or first-world tourists.