Cecilia Roth’s husband disappears at the airport. Shortly thereafter, she receives messagesfrom his kidnappers, demanded payment of 20 million pesos. Roth is hugely surprised todiscover that there is that huge sum of money in her husband’s safety deposit box. As the mysterydeepens, she forms fast friendships with an elderly neighbour from downstairs (Carlos AlvarezNovoa) and the young man from upstairs (Kuno Becker).
For the first half-hour, the film shows every pro…ise of being the 21st-Century answer toCharade, capturing that film’s wit and suspense rather than stupidly remaking it (TheTruth About Charlie). The characterizations are deft, and the set-up of the mystery intriguing.Unfortunately, the story rather quickly runs out of steam. The thriller aspect develops too slowlyand unfolds in rather predictable fashion. As a character piece and romance, the film is alsounsatisfying, going over the same ground again and again. The tone veers from the sentimental tothe comic to the gratuitously nasty, and the result is that its celebratory payoff is unconvincing.Not a dud, but frustrating because it promised to much.
The sound is very crisp, with effective environmental effects. Background FX are nicelyhandled (see, for instance, the murmur of restaurant patrons, or the echoes in the airportterminal). The surround elements are a little on the low key side, but generally effective. Theplacement and left-right separation are very good. The dialogue is distortion-free.
Nice picture, presented in fullscreen and 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen formats. The imageis very sharp, the colours and contrasts strong, the blacks deep and the flesh tones true. Amid thebright and real colours, the reds are especially good. there is no grain. There is some slight edgeenhancement, but not enough to spoil the viewing experience.
Writer/director Antonio Serrano’s commentary covers most aspects of the film, with behind-the-scenes information dovetailing with thematic intent. A promotional featurette is pointlesslysplit into two parts, with one half on each side of the disc. The menu’s main screen isanimated and scored.
A worthy attempt, certainly, but ultimately not up to the sum of its parts. Good picture andsound, though.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Making-of Featurette