What happens to stillborn metaphors? Do they go to Limbo or do they just confuse or bore the audience? Or . . . maybe the audience goes to Limbo?
Fabian Bielinsky’s The Aura is part psychological exploration, part crime thriller, part silent movie. Esteban (Ricardo Darin) is a taxidermist and epileptic. A friend, Sosa (Pablo Cedron) asks, then insists, on taking him on a hunting trip. The pair made no reservations, so their desired place to stay, a casino, is full. This means the pair must stay in a cabin in the hinterlands. There, things are oddly tense for a sister and brother Diana (Dolores Fonzi) and Julio (Nahuel Perez Biscayart). The next day, Esteban accidently kills Diana’s husband, Dietrich. He keeps this information to himself and the same evening he sees what seems like the initial actions of a conspiracy that involved the man Esteban killed. Esteban then takes on Dietrich’s life. Any additional information will give too much away . . .
Honestly there isn’t much to give away. The movie presents a series of whys. The problem is that none of the whys are answered. Why is Esteban epileptic? Why does the beginning of the film with an unseen wife/girlfriend leaving him with only a letter factor into the film at all? Why take on another identity when he knew nothing of the conspiracy—all of them involve either money, killing someone or both, but he cannot know which? Why is there about 60% silence throughout? Why does the director spend so much time with close-ups of eyes (human, animal, and stuffed animal)?
I’ve written enough papers for classes where I could make up stuff. I’ve written nearly 200 movie reviews and can make up stuff. And here is the final . . . why?
I spent 2 hours watching what turned out to be a very predictable film with a few quirks that came to nothing. The acting was passable, the camera work was unremarkable, the special effects neither special nor horrible.
The most frustrating thing is there appeared to be no attempt to answer any of the questions I listed. I reviewed The Lives of Others which uses silence in fantastic ways that really mean something. I reviewed Tzameti where a man takes on the identity of another in a way that meant something. Like anyone else, I’ve seen dozens of conspiracy movies—more bad than good, more mediocre than both and far too many to name.
The Aura was billed as psychological. I like this sort of story. In fact, I don’t care if all questions have answers when you are in the mind of one character, where what and how they do things is more important than why—or you can flip it and still get the same effect. I didn’t care for Esteban at all and his psychology was as adrift as the uncontrolled metaphors Mr. Bielinsky was apparently used.
It was supposed to be a thriller—I was only thrilled when the credits rolled. The only place where billing didn’t lie was that it The Aura is a crime drama; however, neither the crime nor the drama amount to enough reason to spend the time to watch the film.
I’m not in Limbo, but I feel like it moved a few miles closer than it was before I watched the film.
What did you think of this review?