6.8/10
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23 user 77 critic

Tony Manero (2008)

TV-MA | | Crime, Drama | 28 August 2008 (Chile)
A man is obsessed with John Travolta's disco dancing character from Saturday Night Fever (1977).

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13 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Amparo Noguera ...
Cony
Héctor Morales ...
Goyo
Paola Lattus ...
Pauli
...
Wilma
Nicolás Mosso ...
Tomás
Enrique Maluenda ...
TV host
...
The Rumanian
...
TV producer
Diego Medina ...
TV producer
Cristián Ordoñez ...
TV security guard
Greta Nilsson ...
Cinema cashier
Marta Fernández ...
Assaulted old lady
Marcial Tagle ...
Glass seller
Freddy Huerta ...
Man with flyers
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Storyline

Raúl, a middle-aged, unemployed man, is obsessed by the character Tony Manero, who John Travolta plays in the film "Saturday Night Fever". He tries to imitate Travolta's impersonation in every detail, to be able to perform the most perfect Tony Manero himself. Raúl lives in a shabby house in Santiago. In a spacious room the landlady Wilma has a simple stage, where Raúl and some other tenants rehearse a show in Tony Moreno style. The young performers Goyo and Pauli are involved in underground activities against the Pinochet regime. Goyo gives some political flyers to a man. Raúl tails the man, and happens to see the secret police shooting him. After a while Raúl returns to the corpse, and steals the man's wristwatch. He goes to a junk dealer, where he swaps the watch for some thick glass bricks. He needs these for the stage floor, to be able to light up the show from beneath, just as in the film. In need of more glass bricks, he kills the junk dealer and steals the bricks. In his new ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

28 August 2008 (Chile)  »

Also Known As:

Тони Манеро  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was shot on Super 16mm and blown-up to 35mm. See more »

Goofs

The "Members Only" jacket worn by Raul wasn't introduced until 1981, and the film takes place in 1978. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: [first lines]
Don Enrique: [subtitled version] And now we present our look-alike contest: 'The One O'clock Festival'
Security Guard: Wait here, please.
See more »

Connections

References Saturday Night Fever (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pablo Larrín's unforgiving political manifesto
14 November 2016 | by (China) – See all my reviews

Edging to the annual awards season, this year a sure thing is that Chilean director Pablo Larrín will on everybody's radar with his one-two punch NERUDA (Chile's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film) and the formidable JACKIE, a biopic about Jacqueline Kennedy, may win its star Natalie Portman a second Oscar statue as a major player.

So here comes a warm-up to get acquainted with Larrín's previous work, TONY MANERO is his second feature, a sombre take on Chile's darkest time under the Pinochet regime peppered by a less sombre through-line: the 52-year-old protagonist Raúl Peralta's (Castro, Larrín's regular, an Al Pacino doppelgänger both in appearance and affective intensity, also the co-writer of the script) obdurate participation of a TV program "One O'Clock Festival", where a Tony Manero (the lead character in John Badham's Saturday NIGHT FEVER 1977, played by John Travolta) impersonation competition is scheduled in Santiago, 1978.

Examined closely by a hand-held Super 16mm, which intermittently toys with a blurry focus to accentuate the proximity of a sordid milieu, Raúl gives us the first impression of a pallid, taciturn, hangdog loner in the opening scenes where he mistakes the registration date as the actual contest, which will be held one week later. But that facet loses its disguise quickly, when he schematically assaults an old woman who has just been mugged on the street, at her own home, to take away her small boxy color TV set. He is not so much a petty criminal as a ruthless homicide, which ingeniously puts audience at the edge of the seat with a dreadful perturbation whenever he prowls or idles in the dilapidated environs, as violence could be erupted any moment if he sees the opportunity for a monetary gain, whoever the prey is.

Raúl lives with a coterie of amateur dancers in the scruffy house of Wilma (Poblete), where they also occasionally perform to entertain customers. His troupe includes Cony (Noguera), his friend- with-benefit, her adolescent daughter Pauli (Lattus) and Pauli's boyfriend Goyo (Morales). Together they help Raúl to rehearse the John Travola routine, but there is seething tension underneath, Raúl becomes impotent during an overtly explicit rumpy-pumpy, and is mocked by Cony that the only thing can revitalize him is the urge to win the competition, which sours their relationship, Goyo is involved with some surreptitious anti-Pinochet movement, which will put everyone under the interrogation of Pinochet's plainclothes secret police, although Raúl manages to skulk out since it is his big day.

Larrín's tack doesn't shy away from being obstinately provocative, up to an instance of sickeningly scatological malevolence, which seems like an unwarranted feeler to validate its sky's-the-limit artsy taste. But on the other hand, Larrín and his co-writers perspicuously cast a phenomenon of American culture invasion as an escapism for the amoral and the hard-up living under the terror of an autocracy, which indisputably hits the mark of liberating its restrained but astringent political manifesto.

Alfredo Castro is absolutely electrifying to watch from A to Z in the central role, holding Raúl's interior thoughts at bay, but excellently transforms himself onto the screen as a ravishingly volatile monster, with no fear, no conscience, no hold-up can stop his destructive/self-destructive wantonness (as the inauspicious ending dauntingly beckons), who should be answer for this type of societal mutator? The culprit is clear as day in this slam-bang critique of a bygone era weighing heavily on Larrín's fatherland.


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