Cert 15 84mins Stars 3
Hollywood veteran Willem Dafoe brings a thoughtful weariness to this opaque, odd, melancholy and contemplative drama of self-discovery set in Mexico.
He plays an American composer called Paul who’s struggling in the aftermath of his estranged father’s death and in a remote village and while searching for a missing local woman he encounters a documentary film crew.
Dafoe received his fourth Oscar nomination last year for playing artist Vincent Van Gogh, in At Eternity’s Gate, and here there’s an impressive painters eye in the composition of scenes, the evocation of the rhythms of rural life, the framing of dark dry interiors and the capture of magnificent landscapes.
By choosing to substitute plot in favour of a discourse on the relationship between reality, filmmaking and memory, this may test the patience of the casual viewer.
However this is a far more sensitive and spiritual portrait of Mexico than usually offered by Hollywood, without a drug dealing cartel gangster in sight.