The Untamed [Blu-ray]
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Mexican drama co-written and directed by Amat Escalante. The film follows disillusioned pastry factory worker Ale (Ruth Ramos) who lives with her macho and outspoken husband Angel (Jesus Meza) and their two sons. Her openly gay brother Fabian (Eden Villavicencio) works as a nurse at the local hospital, and, unbeknownst to Ale, is also having a secret affair with Angel. With an already complex family dynamic becoming increasingly difficult to handle, the sudden arrival of Veronica (Simone Bucio) complicates the situation yet further when she informs them that there is a mysterious force which lurks in an isolated cabin in the nearby woods which may be able to solve their problems and change their lives forever.
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'Possession' starring Isabelle Adjani & Sam Neil. Rated as 18 though really should be rated 'R' or 18+.
Good quality and good movie but would have been better with English soundtrack.
'The Untamed' is beautifully shot - great cinematography of gorgeous natural world exteriors and animals in particular - and benefits from excellent, naturalistic performances from some very fine actors (including two great children who are as irritating - in a realistic way - as they are charming). The actors were clearly chosen for ordinaries rather than for looks, which is also to the film's credit. The special effects are good, but rely more on computer work than traditional SFX (seeing 'The Void' recently, which uses a lot of latex rubber and KY jelly, is by comparison a refreshing return to realism). Dialogue is well written, but as I said, fails to develop the initial premise far enough -which is where better writing would come in.
The film arguably owes a debt to Philip Jose Farmer's stories collected in 'Strange Relations' and C. L Moore's "Shambleau" (her most famous Northwest Smith story). Its preoccupation with its subject matter does become a little tiresome and once you guess what it is -and it won;t take you long - you're really just sitting through the film to see how the makers handle the subject matter - but as I say, they don't develop it. Cronenberg has already tackled the same idea in 'Shivers', for example, but in a far more literate and philosophical manner, despite its exploitation movie guise. 'The Untamed' is arguably more poetic than 'Shivers', but it's overlong narrative poetry rather than punchy.
As much as I like the visuals, the setting, the acting and the refreshing change of a Mexican setting - rare in North American SF - the film outstayed its welcome and consequently suffered a little from Emperor's New Clothes syndrome. If it had lost 15 minutes - which could easily have been achieved with the kind of tight editing Carpenter employed on 'The Thing' - it could have been a contemporary classic.
Worth a watch, but nowhere near as good as it could have been with judicious cutting and more literary screenwriting.
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