"Zurdo" seems to be one of a kind in Mexican's film history. Or at least a film of a kind that had not been seen for a long long time. It is a fantasy movie aimed to all audiences without being dumb or preachy, without stereotypes or vulgarity; it is an intelligent and original movie that delivers nothing but fun and good entertainment.
Carlos Salcés, a young director with a solid career as an editor of other well-known Mexican movies, makes a simple thing like playing marbles the topic of his first feature with amazing results. Alexandro (Álex Perea), nicknamed "Zurdo", is a young kid in a futuristic fantasy version of a Mexican small town. He has an extraordinary ability to play marbles, and his great skill at the game doesn't go unnoticed. A mysterious stranger (Eugenio Derbez) from a neighbor town challenges Zurdo to a duel against the champion of his town, with a enormous prize in cash. The town makes Zurdo to accept and soon he becomes the center of the town's attention as everyone wants to make a profit of Zurdo's ability.
With big influence from Japanese comic books and Mexican folklore, Salcés paints his futuristic world with great care for details, and despite its low budget, he creates a captivating world that also mimics Mexico's sociology. The always present theme of the corrupt government in Mexican movies is here too, in the shape of Romo (Alejandro Camacho), a man who pretends to use Zurdo's talent for evil purposes while he abuses Zurdo's community. As one would expect, marbles play a great part in the movie, not only as a plot device, but also as a metaphor. While the movie is aimed to kids, it raises good points to the adult audience.
Aléx Perea is great as Zurdo, as well as the other child actors, something noteworthy as it is kind of rare to find this on a movie. Alejandro Camacho does his usual good take on an evil character like the parts that made him famous on Mexican TV soap operas and Eugenio Derbez surprises with a subtle serious performance, far away from his usual over-the-top comedy.
Probably because of the background the cast, the movie at times feels like a fantasy version of a soap opera; and while this only noticeable in a scene or two, it shows that Salcés has a bit of too much influence from that kind of TV shows. Other than that, the movie is flawless; even its CG effects look very good for the budget, and while I'm not a fan of electronic music, Paul Van Dyk's soundtrack fits the movie perfectly and has a soul that most music of this kind doesn't have.
"Zurdo" is the perfect movie to watch with the family and one that sadly has been overlooked when speaking of recent Mexican cinema. It is very entertaining and never gets boring. The story is very original and well constructed with characters that are likable and believable. It is a different experience to common Latin American movies and definitely one of the best Mexican movies ever made. 9/10
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