Thursday, June 18, 2009
Esteban is sick of his boring life. He's a taxidermist whose wife has just left him and his only real friend annoys the crap out of him. To make matters worse he goes on a hunting trip to get away from it all and accidentally kills someone. There are two things about Esteban that are unique: he's epileptic and he has a photographic memory. The hunter he killed was standing next to a shack in the woods. Esteban checked the shack and discovered the victim was deep in the planning phase of an armored truck heist. And so we find Esteban at a turning point. Does he do the normal thing and run to the police about the accidental death? Or does he keep it a secret, use his photographic memory and do something, finally, exciting in his life and attempt to pull off the heist himself. Well, there wouldn't be much of a movie if he picked the former and he does not. This 2005 Argentinian drama by director Fabian Bielinsky was only his second feature but it is very well executed. The pacing is great and his choice of shot sequences is really fantastic. In fact, the visuals look like those orchestrated by a master directer. They really are fantastic. The story is engaging as well and the performances seemed very natural, even the secondary characters that only momentarily appear, some of whom aren't even named. The only complaint I have is that the reliance on violence seemed to confuse the message. I understand, and like, the idea of a story about a guy who wants to do something daring to break up the monotony of his pretty sad life, but I find it hard to sympathize with someone who causes unnecessary death in furtherance of his personal identity crisis. Take the tipping point for example. Why did Bielinsky find it necessary for him to kill the guy. Couldn't he have just stumbled upon the shack? He has a photographic memory, he really only needed to read all the plans. Hell, it may have even made the scene more tense, since there would be the chance that the guy could walk in at any moment. Other innocent people die in the furtherance of the plan too. If they were necessary I would buy it, but the point of the film, for me, was that this guy was trying to get a little excitement and grow some balls. People just don't have to die for you to do that and tell a good story. This was the only thing that detracted from the story for me. Outside of this, everything about this movie is interesting, fresh and engaging.