Instead of blazing new trails of cinematic expression, today’s Spanish filmmakers either pledge allegiance to Pedro Almodóvar or Guillermo del Toro or opt for more banal, equally commonplace approaches to their craft. Manuel Gómez Pereira and Ramón Salazar are not great filmmakers, but their warmth tempers the clichés that suffocate their stories. DarkBlueAlmostBlack is as artful as Queens and 20 Centimeters, but in the astringent manner of a Daniel Burman production. It’s a well-acted soap with one too many plot lines, tied together by genteel audio-visual sutures and supported by the brittle metaphor of its title, a reference to a business suit that obsesses its career-challenged main character. His name is Jorge (Quim Gutiérrez), a gap-toothed cutie who finds himself stuck in a janitor position after his father, Andrés (Hector Colome), is debilitated by a stroke. His brother, Antonio (Antonio de la Torre), is in jail, where he starts a relationship with Paula (Marta Etura), who wants him to impregnate her so she can move to the maternity ward. Because a varicose vein in his testicle has temporarily made him infertile, Antonio asks his brother to do the humanitarian work for him, which only distracts Jorge from changing his father’s diapers and his search for a new job. This is to say nothing of his relationship to the childhood sweetheart who’s back in town, or his friendship to Israel (Raul Arevalo), who thinks his father might be gay because he’s getting happy endings from a local masseur. When Israel learns that the old man is just letting off steam, and that his mother is apparently okay with that, Sánchez Arévalo thinks he’s peddling complex insights into a country’s generational politics. Sufferable in the moment, DarkBlueAlmostBlack immediately evaporates from the mind, a rather anemic, schematic, and impersonal meditation on family ties and self-imposed prisons that ends with a condescending unpacking of its titular metaphor.
- Strand Releasing
- 105 min
- Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
- Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
- Quim Gutiérrez, Marta Etura, Antonio de la Torre, Héctor Colomé, Raúl Arévalo, Eva Pallarés, Manuel Morón, Ana Wagener, Roberto Enríquez
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