Release Date: July 8th, 2005 (NYC-Angelika Film Center and AMC Empire 25) by Palm Pictures.
The Cast: John Leguizamo,Damian Alcazar,Leonor Watling
Directed by Sebastian Cordero.
In Spanish with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: A reporter (Leguizamo) travels to Ecuador to search for an infamous serial killer.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: This is the kind of film that relies heavily on plot twists and turns to make it a riveting experience. What makes it indeed riveting, though, is the fast-paced editing, cinematography, and the musical score. All of these elements combined make the film feel raw, gritty and even suspenseful despite the thin plot. Also, John Leguizamo's performance is convincing and it is nice to see him be comfortable with talking in his native language, Spanish. Equally affecting is Leonor Waitling, who plays his co-worker and love interest. The plot is controversial and provocative in the way that it presents the government and the media as manipulative and even corrupt in its methods. The mystery that creates a lot of tension is whether or not a certain individual (Alcanzar) is a serial killer or just an innocent family man? The answer to this question is very difficult to answer because it becomes much more foggy as the plot progresses. This is the same kind of role that Edward Norton played as the questionable killer in Primal Fear. Alcanzar's performance is not as good, but he still manages to generate some pity, especially since his wife and child are waiting for him outside the prison. The ending is somewhat predictable yet in its surprisingly slow pacing and cinematography, it is subtly shocking. However, the romance between Leguizamo's character and his co-worker falls flat and is not even remotely as important as the investigation itself.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: After the subtly shocking ending, there are a few difficult messages to take from the film. One such message is that the media does not always have the right answers nor the correct information even if the information is on the nightly news. People can be manipulative and deceptive, even if they appear and claim to be innocent. There are individuals who may have a much darker side to them even they seem friendly and likable. It is hard to know who to trust. These messages are very chilling to think about but they represent a harsh reality this world.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Ultimately, the ending is somewhat predictable yet satisfying.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
THE BOTTOM LINE: A riveting, gritty film with a provocative, dark subject matter and a decent performance by Leguizamo. The quietly shocking yet satisfying ending is definitely worth the wait even it is somewhat predictable.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)
The "C" Menu