Jorge Zarate

Jorge Zarate

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We Are What We Are [Somos Lo Que Hay] Review


Very Good
For a thriller about cannibals, this Mexican film is more of an unsettlingly violent drama than an all-out horror movie. It's often very grisly, but has a fine sense of visual style and an extremely black streak of comedy.When their father dies, three late-teen children aren't sure how to help their mother Patricia (Beato). The eldest, Alfredo (Barreiro) thinks she can take care of herself, as he doesn't want to inherit the provider role. And we understand why, since the job entails bringing people home for dinner. As in eating them. Hothead brother Julian (Chavez) has a bit more skill at this job, but sister Sabina (Gaitan) insists that it's Alfredo's inherited role.

Meanwhile, a couple of cops are closing in.Filmmaker Grau hooks us with quiet, invitingly bleak imagery and bone-dry humour. The grisliness is also pretty full-on from the start, but what makes it mesmerising is the precise camera work, which playfully uses reflections, colours, depth of field, focus and offbeat angles to keep us on our toes. And the sound mix is just as intriguing. All of this is in service of a story so thoroughly unhinged that we can't avert our gaze.The constant suspense is also completely unpredictable. We never know what's going to happen within a scene, mainly because Alfredo is so jumpy and Julian so pushy. And Patricia and Sabina are forces to reckon with as well. The cast members invest these people not only with jagged personalities but also layers of internal emotions that continually catch us off guard (Patricia doesn't want to eat prostitutes; Julian won't eat a gay man). The brotherly rivalry and camaraderie are both intense, as is the sense that the whole family is on a kind of adventure after the death of their father.As the story progresses it gets increasingly blunt and brutal. But then, this family is going to have to be brazen if it's going to survive. As the action builds to the frenzied climax, we actually begin to hope that they'll survive to carry on with their private rituals. And the fact that the filmmakers can make us feel this is seriously impressive.

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review


Good

Bearing subtle but uncanny structural similarities to American mob movies like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas," Mexico's highest grossing homegrown film of all time is a substantive parable about an honorable young priest corrupted by desire, temptation, ego and ethical turpitude within the Catholic Church.

"El crimen del Padre Amaro" stars sharply handsome Gael García Bernal (ubiquitous of late in the Mexican imports "Amores Perros" and "Y Tu Mamá También") as Father Amaro, an eager, newly ordained, 24-year-old priest whose ideals are tested and found wanting when he's assigned to a small-town parish run by an canon-transgressing elder clergyman.

Father Benito (Sancho Gracia) may be dedicated to his congregation, but he's also in bed figuratively with local drug cartels -- their donations are funding construction of a new church-run hospital -- and literally with a local widow (Angélica Aragón). Coincidentally, it is this woman's eye-catchingly angelic, devout but extremely sensual teenage daughter Amelia (Ana Claudia Talancón) who is the initial catalyst for Father Amaro's downfall.

Continue reading: El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Review

Jorge Zarate

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Jorge Zarate Movies

We Are What We Are [Somos lo Que Hay] Movie Review

We Are What We Are [Somos lo Que Hay] Movie Review

For a thriller about cannibals, this Mexican film is more of an unsettlingly violent drama...

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Movie Review

El Crimen Del Padre Amaro Movie Review

Bearing subtle but uncanny structural similarities to American mob movies like "The Godfather" and "Goodfellas,"...

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