Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ardor (2014)

Originally premiering at Cannes last year ARDOR is finally hitting select theaters and VOD platforms tomorrow. I would like to report that the wait was worth it, but I'm not sure. As it stands ARDOR is a gorgeous looking film with some good performances and a couple of great sequences taking, like this sentence, too long to get where it's going

The plot of the film has three brothers working for big companies clearing the jungle of trees and the inhabitants. Their methods are whatever works and if that involves coercion and  murder so be it. Happening upon a farm owned by Alice Braga's father the men trick him into signing over his property, They then kill him and then carry Braga off into the woods to be their toy. She is  rescued by Gael García Bernal, an unnamed man who lives in the jungle and acts as an all too human guardian of the forest. Things eventually end up in a western inspired show down back on the farm.

A slow brooding film with a realism to the blood and gore that really isn't seen in moviess, this is a film of small treasures done in on the whole by an attitude that is much too serious to hold your attention. As good as the film looks this is a tough slog as everything set up to play as if it all has a deep meaning. I don't think it's all that deep, the bad guys stealing farm bit has been done before, even with the ecological protector, one need only look at any number of program american westerns from the 1940's and 50's to see we've been here before. Worse the film thinks it's about way more than it really is with the result its kind of really about nothing.

Making the trip kind of worth while is the cast which is good enough that I really wish that they had a better script to work with. If there had been more meat to the script, more life and less brooding intensity then perhaps we'd have a better film.

The real reason to see the film are the occasional action sequences. The real stand out is the final one where Bernal and Braga fight off the approaching bad guys and their small army. Yes we've seen it before (most recently in the current release SLOW WEST), but there is something about the setting and even the slow pacing that adds something to the extended sequence. Is it worth the price of admission? Probably not but if you get roped int seeing this film at least it will give you something to look forward to.

Opening tomorrow in theaters and on VOD ARDOR isn't anything special. Its nothing I can wholeheartedly recommend but at the same time once it hits say Netflix or cable TV it would be worth seeing when you want to go off the board for something off the beaten path.

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