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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 28.57%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 3.57%

3 reviews, 10 user ratings

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Crimen Ferpecto, El
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by Jay Seaver

"Ferpect. Absolutely ferpect."
5 stars

Some American theaters are running this under the name "La Crimen Perfecto", which strikes me as a perfect example of underestimating both the film and the audience. The wordplay in the film's title translates easily enough, and gives the audience a clear idea of both the film's content and its offbeat tone. If someone standing at the ticket booth can't grasp the title, maybe they're just not the audience for this gem.

The crime will eventually be committed by Rafael Gonzalez (Guillermo Toledo), the handsome fellow who runs the women's wear department in Madrid's Yeyo megastore. He's a consummate salesman, and greatly enjoys the company of the beautiful young women who work in his section, but across the hall is his archnemesis, "Don" Antonio (Luis Varela), a dour, joyless man who runs menswear. They're locked in a competition to be manager of the entire floor, which, as Rafael tells us, is the path to company junkets, stock options, a seat on the board, wealth, and power. A scuffle after the position is awarded, however, leaves Don Antonio dead, and Rafael the obvious prime suspect if he doesn't find a way to dispose of the body. Enter Lourdes (Monica Cervera), the one woman in his department he hasn't bedded (she's rather homely). She's a witness, but will help dispose of the body and keep quiet if he gives her some of the attention he gives the other girls. And makes her the new women's wear manager. And fires the girl he was just flirting with. And... well, soon Rafi is in a sort of prison without walls, subject to her every whim. Something will have to be done, and he's already got blood on his hands.

There's a saying that the rivalries and feuds in academia are so bitter and hard-fought because the stakes are so very small, and the same holds for Crimen Ferpecto's department store. Rafi enjoys being a big fish in a small pond, and it's not like he's ever known a larger world. His attitude when addressing the camera is deadpan but insouciant. The full beard may help with this; it cuts down the amount of mugging a person can do. I like Toldeo as a comic leading man; he plays a silly character, with a peculiar personality, but he does it in such a way that he seems like the relatively sane one. He's got the same combination of Latin sizzle and comic chops as Antonio Banderas playing a well-dressed slacker.

Ms. Cervera gets to play it rather broader as Lourdes, who is probably not right in the head in some fundamental way. Power corrupts her something fierce as she sinks her claws into Rafi, with her demands getting more and more selfish. The funny thing is, she actually becomes something sort of kind of approaching sexy as the movie goes on. It's not a case of an ugly duckling becoming a swan, exactly - although I do think she's wearing a little less padding by the end - more a case that self-confidence really is hot. Her body language just completely transforms over the course of the movie. It's a pretty great comic performance, by turns sweet, strange, mischievous, nervous, freaky and sexy, but always funny.

Calling the shots is Spanish writer/director Alex de la Iglesia, whose screenplays written in collaboration with Jorge Guerricaechevarria have gotten away from the brazenly insane scenarios of Mutant Action and Day of the Beast, but still retain their quirky feel. They throw in broad slapstick, shameless sexuality, and plenty of moments that are as sick-funny as anything Tarantino has done (note: the hook on the inside of a changing-room door is dangerous). They happily play with the form, having Rafael address the camera directly, and while the film has bookends, the one at the start has almost nothing to do with the one at the end, other than both being absurd in their own ways.

As much as de la Iglesia's films are still quirky, they've become impressively slick, well-produced affairs. Yeyo's is a colorful, brightly-lit shrine to consumerism, especially initially, where it's Rafi's comfortable home, although it is supplied with a Caro-and-Jeunet-inspired dungeon when bodies need to be disposed of. The last act features some pretty darn impressive inferno work, and the final bookend is insanely creative, colorful, and daffy.

"El Crimen Perfecto" was the title of "Dial M For Murder" in Spain, and Alex de la Iglesia manages to capture the whimsey Hitchcock injected into his thrillers - and then some.

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originally posted: 10/08/05 11:43:53
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/19/15 tiara indriana LOL 1 stars
9/08/06 AnnieG Reminiscent of a dozen other films, but still a fun caper. 4 stars
7/12/06 Agent Sands Funny, clever, but not atmospheric and razor-sharp like I expected. 4 stars
9/24/05 ShellyG I loved this movie. I can't wait for it to come out on DVD. 5 stars
8/23/05 Stanley extremely funny, quirky and fresh 5 stars
2/08/05 patricia excellent, couldnt stop laughing 5 stars
2/01/05 Joann Orovitz Awesome....Fabulous 5 stars
9/25/04 Lori White Very funny, poignant, clever! 5 stars
9/17/04 Ernie Pereira The film like all of Alex de la Iglesia Movies is a Gem! A Hilariously very original Film! 5 stars
9/12/04 Quasimime great, great movie 5 stars
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  DVD: 13-Mar-2007



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