Writ. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Andres M. Koppel
Dir. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Str. Leonard Sbaraglia, Eusebio Poncela, Max von Sydow
Opens December 6th
What Should One Do With Underserved Luck?
is being hailed as the Spanish movie that is re-inventing
the Thriller. I love it when studios classify a movie into
a genre without actually seeing the film. "Intacto"
they say, "well now that sounds mysterious, let's call
it a thriller." Much like "Shakespeare in Love
gosh! That sure sounds award winning, lets throw some Oscars
at it." The only thing thrilling about Intacto is that
Max Von Sydow isn't dead yet. For christ'sake the man was
in the Seventh Seal, a movie that was made, like a zillion
years ago. Please, someone cut the puppet strings and pull
the energizer out of his brain let the poor man sleep.
Intacto has a startlingly original premise. Namely that
luck is not a cosmic force governed by fate or God or some
karmic trading post. Luck is a very fungible, even tangible
thing. Everyone carries their luck with them and it can
be given to other people. Likewise, luck can be taken, it
can be lost, and most importantly, Luck can be gambled.
The creators of Intacto, Fresnadillo and Koppel, take this
idea and run with it. And they run pretty damned far. In
exploring this premise they develop a very vivid, utterly
unique way of looking at the world. If luck is something
physical and finite, they reason, then one must be able
to collect it, one should be able to steal the luck from
those around him and horde it like a twisted Scrooge McDuck.
Fresnadillo and Koppel take it several steps even beyond
that. There are those of us that are truly lucky, they say,
those that have survived horrific accidents and plane crashes,
or weathered enormous natural disasters; those that win
huge amounts of money at casinos when the odds are stacked
so completely against them. There are those that carry 'The
Gift.' What kind of lives would such people lead? What sort
of jobs would they have? How would they stop being bored
with life if they are always winning at it? How would they
be able to gamble with their luck, if they are so lucky
that they win everything they play? The sheer depth of the
imagination of this movie is a marvel.
Max Von Sydow is one of the greatest actors in the world
and he gets to play one of the most original characters
I've seen in years; you can see that he is tickled as near
to pink as his ancient jowled face will allow. All of the
acting is above board, singularly nothing stellar, but all-around,
a very impressive ensemble performance, garnering a Best
New Actor award for Sbaraglia and a Best Actor nomination
for Poncela at this year's Goya awards. Intacto also garnered
a host of other nods, and a Best Director win for Fresnadillo.
Fresnadillo takes his movie much to seriously. There is
earnestness to Intacto that betrays a valiant, but misplaced
attempt at a very vague allegory. He tries to capture the
loneliness and despair that surrounds his fortunate few
and asks that his audience relate to that and pity them,
and this all drags the film down needlessly. The vision
of Intacto is so vibrant that there is no need for the heavy
handed importance, it would be just as engaging if it was
upbeat, and it would be a lot more fun. In fact, there is
a natural air of whimsy to the entire premise and production
and consequently the severity feels quite out of place.
Every one of the four main characters is supposed to be
driven by their own, single-minded desperate base urge (vengeance,
love, duty, greed etc) and yet none of them really work
with this. The driving forces are presented with all the
passion of an over-worked Vegas hustler trying to perform
for an ugly under-endowed john.
The imagination of the story, and its premise, doesn't quite
translate onto the screen. Fresnadillo and Koppel obviously
had an amazing, full idea when they started in on this movie.
However, you know you aren't getting all of their vision.
There's something that never quite got onto the screen correctly
the movie is so close to being a marvel that it see it fall
just short like this is an even greater disappointment.
Creativity: Four of those Fifth Grade Ultra Geeks
Who Were Always Making Gizmo's Out of Paper Clips
Every scene involves one more subtle twist to the world,
one more imaginative addition. Especially nifty are the
various games that The Lucky play with each other to gamble
away their ill-gotten luck.
English: Two Why-the-fuck-is-a-German-living-in-Spain-speaking-English's
For all of you who find subtitles just too hard to deal
with, be at ease. There's a healthy mix of English in here
with the Spanish, so you won't get a headache.
Overall: Two and a half euro-trash hipsters smoking
It sucks that Spain won't choose this as it's representative
for the Foreign Language Oscar. Intacto would have been
a very cool dark horse in the running. Despite some sophomoric
mistakes, Intacto is a very slick very cool, yes, even hip,