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UKScreen Rating:


Silvio (Cantillana) takes his younger brother Victor (Miranda) to a strip club for his birthday, sending him into a back-room with a call-girl for that special birthday gift.
When Victor emerges, there’s no sign of Silvio, so he watches the show – a stripper, Gracia (Ríos), wearing nothing but a whipped-cream bikini, is gyrating around a pole.
During the course of the film, both the mature Silvio and the immature Victor fall in love with Gracia, which would be unfortunate enough, even if she wasn’t the girlfriend of the club’s owner – and local crime king, Don Pascual.


It’s only when you suddenly start to experience a bit of déjà vu that you realise this is going to be another one of those stories which is told from more than one perspective. When you realise the film-makers are actually giving themselves three bites of the cherry, it starts to grow tedious.
With these kind of films, it’s often the case that the film-makers don’t quite have enough story to stretch to full feature length, so by telling much of it three times, it helps them fill the time. To a large extent, this is the case here – particularly since many of the things that get slowly revealed, we’ve worked out for ourselves already.
Once the structure and story of the film are clear, it ends up dragging on too long, which leads me to perhaps the most frustrating criticism. Whatever plus points the film might have – and the performances, mood and camera-work are certainly commendable – it settles back on an anti-climactic cliché to end on. After sitting through it for nearly two hours, you feel like you’ve earned a more satisfying ending.
It’s not often we see films from Chile, and this doesn’t really tell us much about the country – this could have been set anywhere. It could just be enough to label the director Andres Waissbluth “the Alejandro González Iñárritu of Chile,” but he’ll need more than that to the English-language cinema.

Opens in London on 15 July 2005 and in other key cities from 22 July



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