To set the tone, Malkovich begins by taking us on a long truck ride through the mountains of South America. The countryside is beautiful and we are treated to long, wide-angle shots of the truck weaving its way along the base of snow-capped peaks. The passengers listen quietly to a broadcast of Nina Simone babbling to an audience as she prepares to sing her next song. Everyone seems calm, if not peaceful. And then, without a word, the driver guns the engine and slams the vehicle into a policeman standing at a hillside checkpoint. It's this sort of unexpected violence that returns again and again during the first half of the movie. Children blow up their fathers, cars careen into restaurants, politicians are executed on stage in theaters. And, as Inspector Rejas (Javier Bardem) soon learns, these are just the early signs of what could end up being a much bloodier revolution for the impoverished country.
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When The Uncertainty Principle isn't relishing placing Camila within the bleakly lush settings of her prison, it takes the time to humorously discuss philosophical ideas with an energy that keeps character interaction enjoyable. It can never be fully surmised if Camila's passivity is an effort at provoking guilt out of those in her environment or if she is internalizing some imagined voice emanating from the cobwebbed statue she visits frequently, so her erratic impulses are continually amusing. Also well executed is the slowly mounting, subtly-played tension between her lifelong crush Jose (Ricardo Trêpa) and apathetic husband Antonio (Ivo Canelas) for the possible fate of the woman they share.
Continue reading: The Uncertainty Principle (2002) Review
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