The megalomania of the cold, murderous, Travolta-wannabee Raul might be an easy allegory for the US-backed dictatorship of Pinochet, but what elevates the film is Larraín's and Armstrong's cinematography. Their incessantly moving camera follows Raul everywhere, which might be what he wants, but often traps him in unflattering, out of focus images that are blown-up from 16mm and provide little sympathy and no escape.
An interesting drama which delves into the dark soul of obsessive behaviour. Raul’s reliance on a self serving fantasy causes pain and suffering to those around him, somewhat violently in places. Larrain’s camera is always moving, creating a kenetic visual style when the plot and dialogue is rather scarce. Accomplished, though surely some of the Pinochet metaphors are lost on me.
Alfredo Castro (who also co-wrote the film with Mateo Iribarren and director Pablo Larrain) is superb as a rather unpleasant man tying all of his hopes to his ability to emulate the character played by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (hence the title). Sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes shocking, always entertaining, this is well worth your time.
A glimpse into the dead corrupt soul of a country under dictatorship, personified by a man whose only pleasure is escape into a shallow narcissistic fantasy. It's a bleak and sometimes deadening experience but feels an impressively genuine take on a society where sociopaths are best equipped to thrive.
I love how Pablo Larraín focuses on the obsession of an individual to investigate a much broader behaviour in society - that of Pinochet's dictatorship in 1970s Chile. The story is bizarre, funny and at times excruciatingly violent, with a camera that is as dynamically interesting as the character it follows throughout. On both a narrative and a visual level, it shares more than one aspect with Garrone's REALITY.
By following the macabre dance of the cryptic and impermeable Raúl Peralta, hardly an acute metaphor of the era, glimpses of life under the Pinochet regime permeate the screen. Larraín shows technical aptitude and flair whilst playfully submerging in a wide range of cinematic tricks however the screenplay drags behind never reaching meaningful depths, superficially evoking a political allegation.
3.5 Extrano, pero no en la manera (no pun intended) que yo espero (mas surrealista?). Tambien, espero que seria mas explicito o allegorico tratamiento de la vida cotidiano debajo de Pinochet - pero la caracter de Raul es un bien representacion de un impotente, fragil y super-macho "reaction formation".
I was not impressed - it had a sort of amateurish quality to it. And where was Raul's motivation? He bludgeoned some old tart to death just for her telly? And he did someone else in for some glass floor tiles? Also a cop-out ending. But I liked the fact that he couldn't dance for nuts. Pinochet allegory? Augusto liked disco dancing? Wow, that's deep.