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Fernando Fernán Gómez,
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Juan Diego Botto,
I am always amazed at the number of Spanish directors who make movies outside the country and, also, have their movies premiered in various countries. Jaume Collet-Serra with "House of Wax"; Jaume Balagueró and "Darkness"; Alejandro Amenabar with "The Others" and "The Sea Inside"; now a guy with the sequel of "28 Days Later" and, of course, Almodóvar.
The fact is that, if you realize, they are surprisingly good at achieving terror (or at least suspense); if you consider the films mentioned above. Well, there's a man named Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo, and his film "La noche de los girasoles" ("The Night of the Sunflowers" in English) has definitely got some suspense, among other things.
To begin with, the screenplay (by the director himself) has an unbelievable earnestness in its way of depicting people that have nothing to do with one another but, because of how small the world is, end up completely connected. How can I not get bored of movies that connect different things that ultimately become one? It's beginning to appear as an overly used technique with screenplays, but Sánchez-Cabezudo's sense of reality lets us forgive this little detail.
His ingenuity comes from the fact that he presents each of the situations, with a very sarcastic written sentence in the black screen. Then, he places the characters in a completely remote area of the Spanish country where nothing interesting ever happens Until now, and it's better if I don't reveal any of the plot; because the events that happen target these people's need for excitement.
Try to think that the movie is the typical American 'slasher' where teenagers on the road end up in a deserted town and someone (or something) tries to hunt them down. Now change the teenagers for grown up people, and that 'someone' for nothing. There's no reason why something should be waiting for you in the most boring place; but that's the way 'slashers' think.
In this unexciting environment, when one character comes from work, his wife asks how everything went and he has no better answer than: "The same as usual". Actually, this is a phrase that the script didn't even need to include, because the viewer understands the monotony the characters live with immediately.
The actors portray all these mixed feelings with accuracy; specially Celso Bugallo as an old cop near retirement, and Vicente Romero as a younger one who, at one point, has to deal with a case while being drunk. The rest of the cast couldn't seem to be more normal than you and me; the kind of people you can imagine existing, with the slight difference that the scary music that plays in the background as they drive wouldn't play in their regular cars.
"La noche de los girasoles" captures your attention as the director captures the attention of his characters with his simple but original style; because the movie is, if anything, an exercise of perspectives, and one that you won't regret watching.
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