You are, after all, what you think. That’s the personage the protagonist of this haunting Argentinian thriller looks at his life around and Ricardo Darin in his unengaging suave, portrays the role of subtle taxidermist, who suffers epilepsy attacks, and is obsessed of committing the perfect crime. I’m sure the first thoughts of the director Fabian Bielinsky would have excited the entire team to pull this beautiful dark implacable narration conceiving the essential intentions, so fluent indorse of mood and colour, into a beautiful thriller.
El Aura, is 2005 Argentine, neo-noir psychological thriller film directed and written by Fabián Bielinsky and starring Ricardo Darin. Though, El Aura, is quiet a light-hearted movie compared to the director’s first movie “Nine Queens (2000)’, holds a courageous twisting crime story, holds a special place in the recent wave of innovative filmmaking to come out of Argentina. Sadly, as it turns out, Fabián Bielinsky, only made two films leaving a small body of work before his demise due to heart attack in 2006.
El Aura, is exactly the film Bielinsky wanted to make, the extent, the measured pace had been a clear indication creating a multi-dimensional statement about the human condition sweeping the serene local of Patagonian desert and forest landscapes. The unnerving atmosphere hold the mystery and the messy business of heist, double-cross and gun-play fading quietly into the background, as we are drawn further into the protagonist’s enigmatic inner world. The intricate thrills draw us practically into an existential psychological noir piece about the role fantasy and memory play in forging a new identity and changing people’s lives.
The movie received positive reviews from critics upon its release, predominantly for its screenplay and ambience. It won the Silver Condor for Best Film and was the Argentine entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards.
El Aura is, fairly a delicate and genuine emotions of dismay, suspicion and misperception, which’s bracingly real and remark the rigorous callousness of a novel by Georges Simenon. Ricardo Darin is Esteban Espinoza, an epileptic taxidermist whose life is in a rut. An obsessed man with heavy hold ups. He confides in a pal who invites him on a hunting trip, “People are robbing all the time, but they are stupid. The cops are being too ridiculous to find out of any robbery and be gotten away with a neat execution of the plans, and so are the robbers, senseless to execute it the right way”. Espinoza extends his prerogatives of his gifted photographic memory, which could be the perfect crime leaving no trace, may perhaps be the world of difference of his ideologue of fantasy.
Away from his wife’s non-committal relationship, Espinosa agrees to accompany his friend for the hunting trip. They drive to a remote lodge with bed-and-breakfast run by Diana Dietrich (Dolores Fonzi) and her teenage brother Julio (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart).
Espinosa and his friend after their quick stopover at Diana’s inn, they go on hunting and in the middle of nowhere forest, the two friends diverge. Moments later, Espinosa has his epileptic seizure, the world around him disappears as his brain unplug to a screeching blackhole of his past, present and future all combine together. Soon after he regains his conscious, sees what he thinks is a deer, ends up shooting Diana’s husband (Manuel Rodal). Just then, his friend drives back from the hunting party to attend an emergency back home.
This ill-fated incident leads Espinosa to come back to Diana’s inn, as nobody except him knows about the accidental shooting of Dietrich. Espinosa finds couple of clues in his stay at Diana’s inn about Dietrich’s dealings, besides noticing Dietrich’s unhappy marriage, who’s older as her father’s age to be young Diana’s husband. The movie than unearth the suspense at its own pace leading Espinosa to the private garage of Dietrich. He finds that Dietrich’s background is not just a simple hunter, who also happens to be a career criminal specialised in conspiracy, loot and more such masterminded strategies of holding up armoured vehicles and plans to steal a nearby casino.
Unexpectedly Espinosa realises an opportunity when the pieces fall into place to take over Dietrich’s effort and carry out the heist with Dietrich’s partners and Julio pretending to be Dietrich’s plan to frontend the effort to knock off a casino’s weekend earnings and what follows the rest intensifies Espinosa’s character into avantgarde, who lives in the world of his mind which turns out to be vivid consenting audience the time to immerse themselves in the wide desert vistas, the quiet green forests, the rundown factory town Cerro Verde and above all the plot. Darin plays the loner Espinosa to perfection.
Yet, as an epileptic with limited control over himself in a captivating sense of his gorgeous elucidations about how one would feel epilepsy and before each seizure. “Into the deeper gist of aura, the world stops and the head opens, deep in sights, sounds, smells, and tastes; a feeling of powerlessness sweeps, there’s nothing he can do to stop what’s coming. “It’s awful, and it’s flawless,” Espinosa articulates.
The ending may or may not come as a surprise, though Espinosa finds more a driving force, practically all other characters revolve around him spellbinding. The variance between fantasy and reality is so beautifully conceived, and Espinosa’s confidence gets deeper and deeper into those interactions with the world of crime, saving his skin on numerous occasions and Dietrich’s trusted dog to his rescue stirs the optimism to the élan. The escape and reinvention are persistent themes throughout the movie. All the characters desire, sort or another means of leasing their life to the new high.
The movie’s emphasis on psychological crime, El Aura bestow the realm of neo-noir film, which displays inside out, not only the narration. The hitches and shudders of the plot are brilliantly handled, Fabián Bielinsky achieves an even deeper kind of suspense. Also, the crafty filmic construction of Checco Varese’s effort indicates the depth of locales, either in the dense Patagonian forest or in hardscrabble towns far from Buenos Aires. Images come through delicate camera work.
Ricardo Darin’s weary, enigmatic face is thing to watch and the long epileptic stretches of pause, he barely utters a word are mesmerising and moving – El Aura, like a concerted, volatile weather ever so often, unnervingly calm, further habitually agitated by some blend of anxiety, fortitude and remorse, never loses sight of haunted frantic world of Bielinsky, in what would sadly be his last film, establishes a mastery of the form that is contemplation and adventure, mysterious and unexplorable, indefinitely wild and each one of them is constantly walking side by side of his lifetime…….Good bye Bielinsky.
Written & Directed by Fabián Bielinsky
Produced by Ariel Saúl; Victor Hadida & Cecilia Bossi
Star cast-Ricardo Darín; Dolores Fonzi; Alejandro Awada; Pablo Cedrón; Jorge D’Elia; Manuel Rodal; Rafael Castejón; Walter Reyno; Nahuel Pérez Biscayart
Music by Dario Eskenazi
Cinematography by Checco Varese
Edited by Alejandro Carrillo Penovi & Fernando Pardo
Distributed by Buena Vista International & IFC Films
Release date: 15 September 2005 (Argentina)
Run time of 138 minutes