|In Bed (***)
review by Jon
Bruno and Daniela rent out a hotel room for the night. Their
sole intention is lots of meaningless casual sex. What they
didn’t count on is what they’d have to do as they
recharge for the next round – let the talking begin.
The two quickly get to know each other on more than just a
physical level as they talk about the night that led up to
this moment and what they plan to do with the rest of their
lives. It looks like this random pairing might not want to
go their separate ways as they both had initially planned.
However, will they still feel the same after their dark secrets
are finally revealed?
Very early on you can tell that the whole film will be taking
place in this motel room. The dialogue between the two is just
too good to be taken to the streets or out to other venues.
The level of introspection and discovery simply wouldn’t
work on the same level if they were placed in a public setting.
Screenwriter Julio Rojas does a great job of creating a brutally
honest and emotional story without ever seeming heavy handed
or over the top. The characters are given good backstories,
which are slowly revealed to us and to their partner as time
progresses. The film also ends at just the right spot. He along
with the actors deserves credit for writing it so that the
audience doesn’t feel any differently about the characters
after the big secrets are unraveled.
Gonzalo Valenzuela as Bruno and Blanca Lewin as Daniela (“Eternal
Blood”) are perfect shoulders to carry this movie. They
really seem to understand the material and are able to naturally
display a great range of very subtle emotional and tonal shifts.
There’s a scene when they put a pop song on the radio
and as the whole thing plays they’re unable to look at
each other. The non-verbal communication speaks volumes. Of
course, they have to know how to speak with their bodies, because
they’re so prominently displayed. They understand the
differences between fucking, having sex, and making love (not
that this last one comes into play). The acting keeps the movie
from feeling like a play posing as a film. The sex could easily
divide the film into act breaks and the single setting fits
the mold as well. But it’s the acting, more so than the
cinematography (which is the only real weak link in the film),
that gives the movie its cinematic feel.
Shot by Cristián Castro and Gabriel Diaz, the film
tries for your standard approach to intimacy. It starts out
great. The first scene in the movie is an extreme close-up
of something. As the camera moves back, the blurs of colors
turn into body parts as we see bed sheets and bodies rippling
and writhing. Then it gets to be a bit of a nuisance as the
roving camera wanders behind the action or just roves around
the room just to rove. And sometimes I just wanted more than
the shaky camera could give me. I mean a normal person wouldn’t
be looking at the scene and this situation like this. We’d
be focusing in on other things that we don’t get to see.
It seems that director Matías Bize has a pretty good
grasp on most areas of filmmaking, but he needs to fine tune
his technique. This one seems heavily influenced by Richard
Linklater (either “Before
Sunrise” or “Tape”).
Show us what’s really important. Don’t resort to
gimmicks like going into split-screen during the cell phone
calls. Certainly don’t go into what was said afterwards,
because we just heard it. Avoid the choppy editing unless it
has a definitive purpose. It doesn’t play well here.
But most of all, learn to let your movie get taken over by
the performances. Don’t try to save something that’s
so alive by camera work that is so contradictory to the purpose
of the piece. Luckily the acting and tight script largely overshadows
its faults, making it well worth watching.
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