Wednesday, 21 September 2011
review: post mortem
In Tony Manero, a Chilean dancer’s quest to build an illuminated dance-floor was studded with acts of shockingly abrupt violence, to blackly comic and boldly original effect. Director Pablo Larraín’s latest has a less arresting pitch, but is the more complex and rewarding work – an unconventional romance of sorts, played out against the 1973 coup that replaced elected president Salvador Allende with General Pinochet. The sort-of lovers in question are troubled dancer Nancy (Antonia Zegers) and her bland neighbour Mario (Alfredo Castro, who was excellent as the aforementioned Travolta-fixated serial killer), a washed out, barely-there blur as wan as the corpses that rapidly fill the morgue where he works. Amidst traumas both personal and national, Larraín posits moments of deadpan humour (for instance, an itinerary of grisly injury recited by a coroner is rendered farcical by notary Mario’s inability to keep apace on a borrowed typewriter), but any smiles are smartly offset by increasingly unsympathetic characterisation and moral ambiguity.