The Netflix Report

Movie reviews from my Netflix queue. Highly personal and opinionated!

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Common Wealth (La Comunidad)

Alex de la Iglesia does it again! Or more accurately, he had done it before, since I saw this after I enjoyed his “Crimen Ferpecto” even though he made this one four years earlier in 2000.

I used to think that “Charade” was the best Hitchcock film Hitchcock never made, but I may have to change over to Common Wealth for that title. It is scripted, shot, and scored like a classic Hitch thriller, complete with comedic touches and little contrivances that don’t quite ring true but help move the plot along so well that you are willing to let them go.

I won’t give away much of the plot, since we discover what’s happening at about the same rate as the protagonist does. Carmen Maura plays a desperate real estate agent in Madrid trying to sell a recently available flat in a seedy, run-down building. She ends up spending some time there and discovers that there are strange goings-on among the even stranger residents of the building. Secrets are discovered, lives are endangered, and loyalties are tested. As with many films of this type, I would urge you to stay away from online reviews until after you have seen the movie, since many of them give away key plot points that should be surprises.

It’s not a perfect film... Some of the performances are a bit overly theatrical for film (de la Iglesia hired stage actors for the residents because he wanted them to be very expressive). And the ending is a bit too pat and abrupt. But getting there is so much fun that I recommend it heartily. Pay attention to the music (especially you Bernard Herrmann fans). It is wonderfully evocative.

Parent’s warning: Not for the kiddies. Lots of swearing (Spanish dialog with English subtitles), graphic violence and disturbing images. Adults can handle it, although the squeamish may look away in a scene or two.

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