Thursday, 12 August 2010


This is the first film from Mexican director Carlos Reygadar made in 2002. Why is it named so?

It has a nameless protagonist that isn't exactly likeable due to something* that happens early on, and gives this film a bad reputation. 'The man' (left of the DVD cover) claims to have come from the city, and travels to a remote village to end his life. Sounds interesting already, right? The other 2 on the cover are the guys he travels with.

It does have some "disturbing*" scenes. A lot of it had to be cut, and a lot of Mexico are upset and angry. I don't understand what's so disturbing about it, especially on the copy I have anyway. A lot argue that it looks at man's humanity and compares it with nature. I don't think people can be so certain in what they claim. There's a miserable 50-ish man, an old woman, the house where he stays looking over this landscape, and a general depiction of country people. The dialogue doesn't seem to be important at all, the actions of the man and the scenery are where the film offers its viewers its true appreciations. There was quite a funny post on the IMDb message boards criticising the director for stealing from Tarkovsky and not having original ideas. Seems like quite a triumph in itself to mimic the work of someone like Tarkovsky, so I can admit I enjoyed it for that reason. If you've successfully stolen Tarkovsky's work and it's recognised that you have, it must be good!

Despite people hating on it there are beautiful widescreen shots of the landscape alongside great music throughout the film. There are some very cool scenes looking at the man and the nature around him, really exploiting the canyon for some great cinematography. I wouldn't call this "moving" or emotional, the characterisation just doesn't offer itself in an accessible form, which I liked. 'The Man' was an intriguing character. We learn more about the character (some reviews will tell you he represents Death, and 'existentialism'), and slowly see his intentions change, thanks to an old Native American widow. In the end I suppose you're meant to realise that he's just a man, an animal; that's what he's portrayed as anyway. You do feel some sympathy towards him, but then you do towards animals as well.

There is very little dialogue to confirm what a lot of reviews like this one are saying. It's like they have to make a certain wordcount, or apply the same attitude to every film where everything must be fully answered and understood in an acceptable form. Opinions are worded as cold hard facts as opposed to speculation. See how many reviews or comments you can find that call this film pretentious..

No comments: