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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Tony Manero


Definitively not an easy movie to watch as if you follow only the obvious story line about a murderer and petty thief that’s obsessed with dancing like Tony Manero of the Saturday Night Fever fame, the movie is atrociously raw. Then if you get the not so hidden message that all you’re seeing is a metaphor to what happened in the first years of Pinochet’s regime, then becomes even worst as is atrociously revolting to see the brutality of the regime portrayed by the Raul Peralta (Alfredo Castro) character that kills, defecates, steals, etc just to get what he wants.

No doubt that this Pablo Larrain film is brutal, very hard to see and to digest, but the screenplay writers that include Larrain, found an outstanding way to tell reality in a dramatic alternative way and still convey the brutality of those times no matter how you see the story, as the end result is that you will have a not positive reaction to everything that you will see in this movie.

But this time even when I got the metaphor and I do like to see movies about those years in Chile, I cannot recommend this movie unless you are ready to end up with a big headache, stomach upset and asking yourself the reason why you decided to see this movie.

Then even I have to admit that the movie outstandingly succeeds in generating all kind of negative emotions in viewers and that only happens when it’s an outstandingly well-done movie with good production values, actors’ performances and a director that has total control of the production. Bravo Mr. Larrain! I just hope that your next movie is not as raw as this one and that you will keep intact (or improved) you excellent abilities.

The movie was screened in competition at the Directors Fortnight parallel section of the 2008 Cannes fest, is Chile’s official submission to the Oscars, was one of the carefully selected films for the prestigious Film Society of Lincoln Centre New York Film Festival this year, and has more accolades and awards in festivals around the world. Now I know why I decided to see this movie!

If you decide to give this acclaimed film a try, do it at your own risk.

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