November 2004 Archives
Intacto ([Info] [Rent] [Buy]) (or Intact, as its English title) is a very intriguing Spanish/English movie from 2001 about luck, both good and bad. It stars Max Von Sydow [Info] as the luckiest man in the world, and several excellent Spanish actors trying to get to him. I was mesmerized, even if a bit confused, by the plot, and really enjoyed both the camera work and the soundtrack.The movie starts with someone being very lucky at the roulette wheel (only one of several similiarities I saw between Intacto and Run Lola Run [Info] [Rent] [Buy]). Frederico (Eusebio Poncela [Info]) gets called to to steal the patron's good luck, which he does by merely touching him. Sure enough, the formerly lucky patron loses his next big bet, much to his and his cohort's chagrin. Then, for some unexplained reason, Frederico decides to leave his cushy job as Official Luck Stealer and tells Samuel (Sydow) that he is leaving. Well, The Jew, as he is known, doesn't take too kindly to that, and so he steals Frederico's luck on the way out. Frederico spends the following years trying to find another lucky person, to try and get back at Samuel. He finally finds an airplane crash survivor, Tomás (Leonardo Sbaraglia [Info]) and they begin a very strange journey through the underground world of luck stealers, which include a former bullfighter Horacio (Guillermo Toledo [Info]). There are all sorts of interesting competitions, where they try to find out who is the luckiest, using as currency pictures of poor souls from whom they've already stolen all their good luck. Their quest is complicated by the fact that Tomás is a fugitive from justice and is being tracked by a tenancious police officer and, unbeknownst to her, a luck stealer herself, Sara (a truly bravura performance by Mónica López [Info]). They have some very narrow escapes, as well as several very surprising competitions (including the one where the contestants race blindfolded through a thick forest trying to avoid trees), finally culminating in a shocking showdown with Samuel. What a wonderful film! It really posited a very believable "luck" underground and made it all very interesting without spelling everything completely out. The acting was top-notch all around, and the subtitling was done very well. A couple of the twists were truly remarkable, and I enjoyed myself completely. The ending I have to ponder on a bit, as I'm not really sure why he did what he did, but I'll bet there's a good reason. If I had the patience to sit through the entire director's commentary (what little I listened to was very good), I'll be it would all become clearer. The camera work was superb. There were several really clever shots - you know, ones that make you go "Wow, that's neat!" without feeling like the director (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo [Info], surely someone to watch) and the cinematographer (Xavi Giménez [Info]) were trying too hard. I loved the one where they swapped positions in the car, backlit by a setting sun. And the music was really cool too. Yup, so this picture is a winner. I highly suggest Intacto!