A thriller from Spain, something of an extended episode of “The Twilight Zone” or “Outer Limits,” which has a wild array of games and competitions centered on discovering the Luckiest Person in the World.These series of competitions, generally based on things such as chance (who a mantis lands on in the dark, running though the woods without running into a wood, a simple round of Russian roulette) will whittle down a large body of people with luck ranging from coincidental to the highly abnormal. In essence, the ultimate goal at the end of these Luck Olympics is to compete against an old Jew, concentration camp survivor, long reigning as the luckiest; he runs a casino and is able to take away other’s gifts as he collects the luck from those he beats. (The signifiers are Polaroids, which are transferred to the winning gamesman, something along the lines of how Pokémon is played. The more you collect, the more invincible you become, but that’s all in addition to your own prowess.) The concept is appealing and easy to follow, and if not for perhaps the foreign nature of the movie, it might even have a built-in niche audience. But Intacto never feels fully fleshed out and established, as a game or a movie. Its elementary ties to the science fiction realm are never tightened, therefore, never allowing it to expand beyond the potential of a Rod Serling weekly installment. And if the lucky second dog is perpetually killed by the top dog, not to mention casualties leading up to the top honors, wouldn’t one start to get the notion that this body of lucky people will begin to dwindle on its own? What kind of luck is that? The cinematography is wonderfully realized (rich colors, decent camera tricks — the car crash, the forest race) reaching for extra realism, but since the plot tries so hard to find its roots within reality, the fictional elements that propel it tend to minimize and soften the blow of any dramatic content. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. With Leonardo Sbaraglia, Eusebio Poncela, Mónica López, and Max von Sydow.[Worth-seeing.]
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.