Friday, June 9, 2023

One Night With Adela (2023) Tribeca 2023

Laura Galan (PIGGY) turns in performance that is light years better than the film that is struggling to contain it. Almost certain to be put Galan on everyone's radar and make her a huge star, her turn as Adela is (largely) as real and raw as they come.

The plot of the film has a woman named Adela taking some detours during her shift as a garbage collector. She staggers through the nigh as she deals with a creepy guys who try to pick her up, ingests tons of drugs, and calls into a radio show saying that she is going to do something terrible very soon because she is a wreck of a person. 

For a while this is a hell of a ride. Essentially a long single take of Adela marching through the night and we are trapped with a nightmare of a person. For its early section this film  holds your attention  with an iron grip as we wait to see what is going to happen next. The film makes an early statement with an unexpected turn in the first minutes and we are hooked. However shortly there after the film begins to lose its grip as it stops being anything other than Adela driving and walking through the night chain smoking and occasionally calling into a radio show (this was the point where several people at the screening I attended fell dead asleep). Nothing much happens for at least an hour until the final section of the film at which point the film falls completely off the table.

There are a couple of problems with the final section that wreck the film. The first is there is absolutely no reason for the film to continue as a single take. Sure its a nifty trick that allows  for a wicked reveal, but it doesn't make any narrative sense. It works against the suspense because it's just people in a room after a long march a city at night. The frantic nature of the narrative stops and the film becomes something else.

The second problem is the revelation of what Adele's drug fueled trip is all about doesn't really work. I'm not going to go into what happens but it almost everything that it involves is a giant WTF. Every revelation once we get to the apartment is out of left field and everyone raises way more questions then they answer (which I'm guessing we are supposed to accept because its a single take). Worse they all seem to be there just to shock not because they make narrative sense. Adela stops being a person we connect to and just becomes the wrong sort of crazy...which is probably the point but it's a turn that reveals she is not as well a thought out a character as she seemed, and that the internal logic of every detail of the film makes no sense. The final section make the film go from a fun thrill ride into becoming a waste of time. (It's a more psychotic and less coherent version of FALLING DOWN, which I hate.)

I went from WHOA! at the opening, to why am I bothering?

While Laura Galan gives a hell of a performance the film is not worth seeing beyond that.

No comments:

Post a Comment