On a rainy night in Bogota Jorge is dropping off a fare. Across the way car pulls up and two men tell Jorge that they want to set up a meeting for their boss to give him information about the death of his brother. Jorge doesn’t want to hear it and doesn’t feel safe so gets out of his cab with a crow bar. One of the other men beats him up for “disrespecting” them. This then sets in motion a series of events that will result his meeting lonely party girl Angela and violence.
Nihilistic doesn’t begin to describe this bleak black film. It’s a film that hangs around you and makes you feel unclean. This is not a happy movie and you may hate yourself for seeing it, as a couple at the Tribeca film Festival screening I attended did. Its dark oppressive and you can’t escape. It’s a film that moves toward its conclusion with a certainty that none of the characters has, much like all of us.
I don’t know what I think of this film. Its clearly the calling card of a director with a huge amount of talent. It has the feel of a real place, of events that may have happened.
As a film as an object de art it’s a masterpiece. I could wax poetic about the technical aspects (including one of the best soundtracks-sound effects ect-that I’ve ever heard) for hours. The film is technically that good. Unfortunately the film has problems dramatically that have made it hard to put it on the high pedestal the film is aiming for (it still hits high up like some one shooting for the moon and ending up in the stars).
The problem with the film is that it is dramatically confused. There is a great deal going on that we don’t know. Much of it is because Jorge doesn’t know, but there is a great deal more that is never revealed because it’s the life of the characters that bleeds off the screen. Its as if we have been truly dropped into these characters lives with no road map. It works on some levels because its clear there is a real world they are operating in, but at the same time it leaves us wanting to know just a little bit more. Its problem that goes all the way to the end because while we see things to the end, we never get any answers about what it was that brought about the terrible events. (There is a seeming problem with the film’s internal clock but its not worth going into since its nit picking)
I’m not sure that this film is really about the events as depicted or if, perhaps the film is more a mediation on various themes running through it. In the morning after I saw the film I found that if I jettisoned the plot and just thought about the ideas I liked it better. The film is largely a dark meditation on loneliness and violence. I like the films depiction of the damage and dangers of random violence. Rarely has any film clearly shown how the stupid things we do by violent or forceful means, leads to more violence and more damage. Indeed the downward spiral of the film is set in motion because one man chooses to beat up Jorge who then has to take steps to protect himself, which leads into misunderstandings and further complications which leads to more violence and death. It’s a film where people who don’t know anything choose to beat their way through things and then get shocked (or dead) because they don’t take the time to see the stupidity of their actions.
Of course the people who see the film and use it as something to change the way they behave won’t.
This is a film I admire a great deal. I’m still not sure I more than like it but at the same time I think that this a film worth seeing.
A word of warning there is full frontal nudity, graphic sex, violence and general unpleasantness. This is a film that will probably be released in the US as either an NC17 or more likely unrated. Keep the kids away.
Currently on the festival circuit, I expect this to be picked up for release since there were several people at the screening I attended looking at the film for possible pick up.