Chilean Cinema 2014 #4: Brillantes (2014)

Brilliants

(Chile 2014 90m) Cinemark Plaza Vespucio

p Gonzalo Carracedo, Ignacio González, Wilson Quezada, Alejandro Lillo d/c Ignacio González w María de la Luz González, Ignacio González, Luisa Hurtado ed José Luis Guridi, Nicolás Ibieta s Francisco Becker

a Fernando Larraín, Álvaro Rudolphy, Delfina Guzmán, Víctor Hugo Ogaz, Mac Hilton, Ignacia Costaguta, Luis Hernán Herreros, Julio Jung, María Izquierdo

Ok, let’s go, I mean, how bad could it possibly be? The movie premiered about, what? Two weeks ago? It was on the news a couple of times, the trailer wasn’t exactly spectacular, but it did feature the two supposed strengths that the movie had, its location work in Utah, the dessertic state of the United States of America, and the comedy talent of Fernando Larraín (a famous comedic actor who uses his voice and his quick silly jokes to bring a smile to your face every time you see it, and though he’s been involved with some bad films in the past, I always have high hopes for the things he does), but besides that I wasn’t terribly excited to see this movie, but my duty is my duty, business is business, and since I promised myself that I’d see and review every Chilean film that comes out in theaters (and any other that I can find myself with), and when I thought about it, it was really impossible for it to be worse than ‘Mamá ya crecí’ (2014) or ‘Hembra’ (2012), films previously released in January and February and that were just abominable works of awful and incompetent filmmaking. So, what’s the damage? Let’s go, at least it looks like it was made with some competence towards what makes a film look good and what you’re supposed to frame and what not. So, yeah, I wasn’t surprised that when I came out of the theater I wasn’t exactly dissapointed, but I wasn’t exactly happy either with the result of the film.

The movie starts in a police compound, where our two protagonists are being questioned in english and they can’t really understand what’s happening until they find a translator. Then, Larraín, in drag, starts to tell his story to the cops, then the rest of the movie is like a big flashback until the point where they are cuffed and being accused of murder and robbery, as it starts in Chile, where we see how Larraín has the worst day of his life: he is fired for having awful ideas at his ad company, he has to settle for a cheap ring for his marriage proposal, and then when he’s making the proposal, his girlfriend chokes on the ring as she drinks the cup in which it was put, and dies. He decides to travel to the United States, to Utah, where an old friend of his lives, married and with a steady life, living the American dream, but the thing is that the bad luck doesn’t seem to abandon him, as he manages to get involved with delinquents and thieves the moment he drives out of the house of his friend. He runs over one man and kills him, putting him into his trunk, and then when a police officer stops him and makes him open the trunk, he also manages to kill him, by banging his head with the cover of the trunk. With two dead bodies in the car of his friend, there’s really no question when the other man has to chime in with his opinions and plans, after all, he thinks he is a decent man that has his green card and shouldn’t be damaged by the mistakes and deathly antics of his compadre. The movie continues, making some twists and turns, including one sequence regarding a mix-up of cars and where the bodies could be that is maybe the best scene of the movie, but overall there’s a sense of quiet and stillness that doesn’t work when we are working under the logics of reality, where two nervous obviously not American characters run arround with two dead bodies and are never found.

The furious attempts to make something funny in this movie works half of the time, where the humour lands mostly because of mistranslation, and the comedic figurines and tricks that Larraín puts out from his sleeve, but it fails when it tries to grab something basic and/or offensive, like stomach trouble that end up with fart and shit jokes, or when Larraín finds himself a disguise as some kind of drag queen. Yet, at the same time, as the movie nears an ending, the humour stops, and it resorts to drama and some sort of emotional ending that nullifies pretty much everything that has been told so far in this movie, and in that sense is dissapointing. The film could’ve been better, but the acting from the foreign actors is dubious, as if they were actors speaking in english, but it wasn’t their native tongue, I mean, how difficult could it have been to find American actors in the United States to do the roles that were supposed to be for native english speakers, it sounds wrong when you’ve seen many movies spoken in english, you recognice the force in the pronunciation as some kind of forced or neutered accent. This might be the clean (at least in some parts) to the raunchy fest that was ‘Barrio Universitario’ (2013) last year, but this one gets things better with a cleaner view and some kind of sense of storytelling that the other film lacked. Still, I wouldn’t recommend it, it’s another try, something that should be done better and more frequently so that we get some good comedies in our country.

6/10

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