This one definitely felt like a step down to me from Tony Manero. Whereas in that film, I felt like Larrain’s mix of humor, drama and violence blended together much more organically (or at least interestingly), here I felt like they were inserted much more self-consciously. Felt like checking boxes off a list. This one’s also much more overtly political drawing the lines between the political and the personal much more clearly and somehow it lost some of it’s power as a consequence.
Still, it has some pretty good stuff in it. I was really into it at the beginning where it feels much more like a direct continuation of (or at least a companion to) Tony Manero. Alfredo Castro is just such a great screen presence as he slithers across rooms and doorways quietly like a cat. But then once the political stuff becomes more front and center, it all became less interesting to me. Larrain’s visuals are still pretty great giving the whole town an apocalyptic look – all desolate and grey and we get the impression that the only people remaining alive are the people at the morgue and Pinochet’s military. And I did like how long he chooses to hold that closing shot. And yet.. even that, felt a little too obvious.
All this makes it sound like I didn’t like it at all. I did. Just nowhere as much as Tony Manero.