Intacto Movie Review

Odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 23,000,000. Odds of having a royal flush are 1 in 649,739. Odds of becoming a millionaire in a casino are 1 in 600,000. In comparison, odds of being hit by an asteroid are only 1 in 20,000. Luck does occasionally strike, though, and the one fortunate winner is enough to inspire other players to continue gambling, despite the overwhelming odds. After all, players of the lottery only lose a few dollars each time they play.

However, some gamblers risk more than just pocket change. Some even risk their lives. Does anyone want to play a game in which the players run full-speed through a heavily wooded forest handcuffed and blindfolded, and whoever doesn't smash his or her face into a tree takes the prize? Or how about a reverse game of Russian roulette in which there is only one empty chamber in the loaded revolver? The gamblers in Intacto participate in these games and others so amazingly outrageous they belong in Jackass.

Thomas (Leonardo Sbaraglia), a young thief and plane crash survivor, is such a gambler. He represents the only means of vengeance for Federico (Eusebio Poncela), who once had the power to rob other people of their luck with a single touch, until he broke his alliance with Sam (Max Von Sydow), a very lucky fellow who runs a lucrative casino. After their partnership ends, Federico is robbed of his supernatural abilities. Seeking to challenge Sam at his own game, he joins forces with Thomas, who may have the ultimate gift of luck. He's being investigated by Sara (Monica Lopez), a detective obsessed with uncovering the truth behind the gambling ring.

Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo assembles a strong cast for the enigmatic characters. His actors support the perplexing plot, perspiring of cunning sneakiness and appearing as if they always have a wild card up their sleeves. Max Von Sydow, the cast's most recognizable actor to American filmgoers, delivers the most devilish performance. His diabolical tranquility initiates immediate anxiety in the eyes of his opponents.

When translated into English, Intacto means intact, which pertains to the person in the movie who finally walks away from the challenges in one piece. The movie tries to keep the audience guessing who will be the luckiest fool to exit the story intact. While an amiable motive, it doesn't have a valid foundation. Luck is a very fragile idea to hinge upon because it doesn't allow the characters to be active or to accomplish things on their own accord. They just cross their fingers, hold their breath, and pray to God that they will be fortunate. Luck doesn't allow for much involvement on the audience's part, either. We simply stare in astonishment as the characters participate in these insane games.

Despite stylish direction, the idea of luck repeatedly corners Intacto against a brick wall. Because the characters lack activity, they become plot puppets that do and say as they are told by the script. The inactivity eliminates tension in the movie, and the story becomes sluggish and the pacing slack. Fresnadillo is left no choice but to shine light on the side characters and subplots. Before the movie has a chance to catch up with itself, it finds itself overloaded with contrived back-stories, complex subplots, and unneeded characters. Its focus becomes as blurry as Mr. Magoo's eyesight. Intacto needs a concise rewrite.

A 15-minute making-of film and a few other extras buttress the Intacto DVD.

Ecstatic in Intacto.

Cast & Crew

Producer : Sebastián Álvarez


Comments

Intacto Rating

" Weak "

Rating: R, 2001

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