any good movies lately?
and recommend it.
Directed by: Alejandro
Written by: Alejandro Amenabar, Mateo Gil
Starring: Ana Torrent, Fele Martinez, Eduardo Noriega
Language: Spanish [with English subtitles]
Look for it at the video store under:
Watch it when youíre in the mood
The critic says:
5 the rating system
Fun factor: /5
University student Angela is working
on her thesis, a look at violence in the media. At her request, her
advisor ventures into the schoolís film and video vault to find some
particularly violent images to which Angela canít get access as a
student. When the professor stumbles across a hidden room full of
videotapes, he grabs one and then sneaks into a classroom to watch it.
The next day, itís Angela that finds him, sitting in the classroom
chair, dead of an asthma attack. Realizing that itís the video she
requested that killed him, she grabs the tape and runs off.
Simultaneously horrified by her mere imaginings of what must be on the
tape, and terribly curious as well, she ends up bringing the tape to an
oddball new friend of hers, Chemo, who happens to collect hardcore porn
and gore films. Together, they watch the video, and witness a real-life
murder taking place. Chemo even recognizes the girl, a fellow university
student who disappeared over a year ago under mysterious circumstances,
in a case that was never solved. Soon, and despite their semi-reluctance
to get involved Ė Angela in particular feels repelled by the violence,
even as she finds herself sucked into the mystery -- the two find
themselves trying to track down the killers Ö and getting hunted
themselves as they get closer to uncovering the truth.
Ridiculous, I know, but thereís a little
part of me that tends to assume that if the movieís not American, it
must be arty (Hong Kong movies alone are excepted in this bias of mine).
Which is why when Iím in the mood to be entertained, I donít
generally head towards the section of the video store where they keep
all the subtitled movies. Spanish writer/director Amenabarís Open
Your Eyes was actually pretty entertaining, but decidedly artsy
as well Ė and so I have to admit, I was expecting something similar
when I grabbed the video of his earlier film, Thesis, off the
video store shelf. Instead, Thesis feels very much like a
quintessential Hollywood-style blockbuster psychological thriller,
complete with wide-eyed, overly-inquisitive heroine, acerbic sidekick,
and a mysterious, charming stranger who may or may not be the villain.
What distinguishes Thesis from the vast array of thrillers
populating the local multiplex is that itís intelligent, well-paced,
and genuinely full of bite-your-fingernails,
sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense, a combination thatís sadly all
too rare. The movie makes its point about how media simultaneously
creates this sick fascination while at the same time feeding an already existing dark need Ė we watch the violence
because weíre constantly bombarded with it, yet itís there because
we want to watch Ė but never really delves deeper beyond into positing
the whys regarding societyís voyeuristic obsession with violence. The
message ends up sounding a bit superficial, but the movieís such a
tension-packed, twist-filled, terrifying thriller that youíll find
yourself engrossed on a visceral level anyway, if not a deeply
philosophical one. Thesis is just fantastically creepy. Watch
this movie Ė just donít watch it alone.
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