Monday, February 20, 2012


Directed by Guillem Morales

Belen Rueda - Julia
Lluis Homar - Isaac
Francesc Orella - Inspector Dimas

     The story of a woman who is slowly losing her sight whilst trying to investigate the mysterious death of her twin sister.

     I usually run hot or cold on thrillers. It's not that I don't like them. It's just that a lot of them have no follow through at the end. It's all about the build up to the reveal, and after that everything more than half the time just falls apart as the scripts don't know what to do afterwards. The ones that do get it right are usually classics right away, such as Silence Of The Lambs and Night Of The Hunter. Others just sit comfortably in the middle or just fail miserably. But the real good ones will stick with you after watching them.

     Belen Rueda, who plays Julia, is just wonderful in this film. Whenever she's on screen you know she is and pay attention to her. It's not that she chews scenes, but actually acts. Rueda has to go through so many emotions in this film as her surroundings are constantly changing as is her state of mind.  Yet there is two scenes in the film where she just shines. One is when Julia has just regained her sight, yet realizes that it would have been probably better if she hadn't due to the situation she was in. This is driven home when she has to act blind with a bloody kitchen knife just inches from her eye while being terrified and not flinching from it. The other scene is at the end where Julia fully understands her late husband's love for her. This is shown in her face as she's about to lose her sight for the second and last time while looking through her husbands eyes. There is a sadness in her face although it's mixed with a final understanding that wasn't there until that scene. The rest of the actors do a superb job as well though none stick out as much Rueda does.

     Now the story is what every film really is judged on, specially in a thriller. And thankfully this one doesn't drop the ball at all. Usually when a movie starts out looking like one type of film, such as a ghost story or hints at it then switches halfway through, the feel of the film suffers. Thankfully this film doesn't get lost in that transition. In fact, it becomes a stronger film due to that reason. Another strong aspect for the film is the plot of Julia losing her eye sight slowly. By using this it helps heighten the tension due to Julia can not understand what is going on all around her and  those closest to her think that she's losing her mind thanks to he her failing eyesight. The one thing I'm going to pass on talking about script wise is the antagonist, as part of the fun in this film is not knowing who that person is. The one problem I truly had with the film though is that you never really find out if Julia's husband Isaac committed suicide or was really killed. To me it just felt like that was left to far out in the open.

     The way the film was shot is something I have to talk about. While most of the film is shot as most are, with the viewer as a unseen entity in the room, this film goes the extra step to actually show how Julia's eyes are degenerating by going into first person view almost every time Julia becomes unbearably stressed, which makes her lose her sight quicker. At first the view through her eyes just has a darkness around the edges, though as the film goes on a blackness pervades her vision until she's blind. It's when her vision is almost gone a second time is when it truly feels terrifying as you see her view of events.  Even through all of this, two scenes that stick out visually are when Julia first starts tracing her sister's movements which puts her in the middle of blind women that easily resembles the Graeae from mythology as they are almost predatory in their movements and use of their functioning senses. The other is the final showdown between Julia and her antagonist as most of it takes place almost all in the dark which  also simulates Julia's vision. The only action we see during this is when a flash goes off from a camera which lasts all of two seconds. The film surprised me from start to finish, in a good way, which is hard to do now, and I loved every second of it. Definitely one that will probably stay on my top films list this year.

      Lia's piercing hanging out.

     There are people with no light.

     The film references the 1933 classic movie The Invisible Man.

     Guillermo del Toro worked  as a producer for the film.

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