Star rating – 6/10
This is a bit of an odd offering from Chilean director Pablo Larrain, which is just out on DVD. It is the juxtaposition of a film about social misfits, with the backdrop of the brutal 1973 military coup that overthrew the socialist Government of Salvador Allende.
Mario is an assistant in a pathology lab in Santiago, who is a loner and an odd looking chap to say the least. He is strangely obsessed with his neighbour, the dancer Nancy. He turns up at her work and they begin an odd and very brief ‘relationship’ which is distinctly one sided.
Then the military coup led by General Pinochet causes chaos and much bloodshed on the streets. Nancy’s home is raided and her family taken away. Mario is affected at work as well as at home, as body after body arrives with gunshot wounds to be catalogued and covered up. Then comes a very sinister request to do a top secret and highly political autopsy, which is understandably more than his colleague Sandra can bear.
It’s an interesting, if very odd watch, and I was not entirely sure what Larrain was trying to say. Alfredo Castro is suitably odd, not to say creepy, as Mario, and Antonia Zegers is great as the heartless and troubled Nancy. In truth it felt like two films in one, both of which might arguably have benefitted from a separation from each other. It ends suddenly and oddly, not entirely out of keeping with the rest of the story.