Thursday, 20 November 2014

Spain Month: Intacto

Intacto film 2001 juan carlos fresnadillo poster

Week 2 and my beard is pissing me off to no end. I like my face not covered in itchy hair bitsicles. Guh! Now I'm afraid things are a little busy this week, my lovely readers, so this'll be a speedy review; let's get started.

This week's review is looking at Intacto, an early film of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the director of one of the few truly, honestly, and unforgettably abysmal sequels ever made: 28 Weeks Later. Frankly, I was not expecting much; and if it turned out to be OK, I wasn't hoping for any more than an absolutely average movie. I'll be straight up and say that, surprisingly, that wasn't the case; it was slightly above average.

packet of hobnobs
It's the hobnob of movies. Better than a digestive, but still not covered in sweet, sweet chocolate.
It appears I've inadvertently ended up picking nought but thrillers for this month's movies (although can you blame me? Spain does them ruddy well), but shmeh, I'm not complaining. Right, the film. Intacto has a pretty standard tone and atmosphere for a thriller, but stands out a little thanks to its premise: lucky people. Yup. Lucky people competing in dangerous games to see who's luckier. Being a thriller there's obviously the usual court-mandated unnecessary plot twists and lack of coherent explanation as well but that's the gist.

Intacto film 2001 juan carlos fresnadillo blindfold bug scene
For some reason this involves smearing yourself with treacle and putting bugs on your head.
In retrospect, the whole thing is a mess. The premise is introduced nice and early, sure, but it feels like the goal posts are being constantly moved depending on what the film makers wanted to happen in that particular scene. The basic idea is that there are people in the world with supernaturally good luck, and they compete with each other to see who is the luckiest; simple. So it starts with everyone on a kind of scale of luckiness with the luckiest coming out on top, but then they bring in the concept of betting with the luck of normal people (and temporarily absorbing the luck of others by touching them) and the water starts to muddy. By the end you just have to go with it, the rules are forgotten and stuff just seems to be happening because reasons.

Intacto film 2001 juan carlos fresnadillo plane crash scene
Yes, it's lucky to survive, but it wasn't very lucky to be in a plane crash in the first place. Jeez.
That said, despite the poorly presented ideas it is still a fun movie. Some of the less convoluted challenges are that good mixture of silly and tense that keeps you nicely on the edge; the best being a moment when the characters are blindfolded and made to run through a dense forest towards a man's voice. Gah. I've leaned against a tree too hard and hurt myself, I don't want to think what it'd be like sprinting into one.

Intacto film 2001 juan carlos fresnadillo blindfold running forest scene
I'm not sure what it says about the whole film when the best scene is of people running at trees with their face.
Where it has it, Intacto does tension very well; helped along by some skilful cinematography that gives the movie a weird, pseudo-dreamy atmosphere. There's a lot of Lynch and Kubrick influences in here, and very obviously so. Although that's not a bad thing; it works and it adds to the overall tone of the movie, making for some lovely shots that compliment the tense/weird scenes.

Intacto film 2001 juan carlos fresnadillo good luck red hallway
Case in point.
There's little to say about the acting and even less about the music; they exist, but don't occupy any more space than is necessary. Plus the characterisation and exposition is sloppy at best, character's back-stories being introduced with as much delicacy as flying a plane using only your balls. It may have the style and suspense, but on a whole Intacto felt like it lacked that extra bit of substance necessary to make a memorable movie. It's fun and interesting but don't go looking for Nolan-esque moral exploration or third act twists (excluding Interstellar in all its glacial-paced, predictable glory), you'll end up disappointed.

Intacto film 2001 juan carlos fresnadillo russian roulette
And yes, of course there's a game of Russian roulette.
 Here's a fun drinking game to play while you watch this movie: take a drink every time someone refers to luck, being lucky, or the luckiness of someone else. You'll get smashed faster than a Faberge egg being held by a Parkinsons sufferer.

Moustache Rating

v for vendetta guy fawkes mask
The "V" -
It appears to be trying to make some sort of statement, but gets too caught up in its own style to say anything at all. At least it's fun though.

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