Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hacia la Oscuridad (Towards Darkness) (2007)

Recommended by Brian after viewing at Chicago Latino Film Festival, I immediately added it to my Netflix queue. The problem may have been that he set my expectations way too high. To quote his text message: "Hacia la Oscuridad, best ending ever!!!" The three exclamation marks may have been to my detriment.

Jose is back in Colombia after his first semester at college in the US. He meets up with his old girlfriend Luiza (America Ferrara) and they make plans to go out again.

(Spoiler Alert: Read at Your Own Risk!)

When Jose and Luiza meet up again, Jose gets attacked/conked on the head. He awakes tied up and gagged on the floor in a bathroom in a seemingly abandoned building. He's been kidnapped and a random has been requested of his parents, who are frantic to get the money and save their son. The family doesn't want to involve the police and jeopardize the operation but they have difficulty raising the random. While they are scrambling, Jose is in and out of consciousness and ponders his life and the events leading up to the kidnapping. Once his family finally raises the ransom, it turns out to be too late.

This movie is slow, long and at times uninspired. The scenery is interesting (shot in Colombia). It's supposed to be a thriller but it is betrayed by its pace. America Ferrara is ineffective. She lacks passion. Her character is supposed to be conflicted and depressed, but I just get distance.

The "best ending ever" turned out to be a surprising twist. While clever, you have been waiting for so long, it happens too abruptly, requiring you to go back and try to figure out what the hell occurred.

I wish I'd enjoyed it more, but alas, I didn't.

Themes: friendship, betrayal, kidnapping

Director: José Antonio Negret

Country: Colombia

Genre: Thriller

Minutes:  92 minutes (feels much longer)

Scale: 2

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