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Hierro
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Hierro More at IMDbPro »

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37 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

A visually marvellous but not completely successful psychological mystery

7/10
Author: t-birkhead from United Kingdom
15 September 2009

I knew virtually nothing about this other than that it was Spanish and it was a fairly decent time, though imperfect. It concerns a mother who loses her young son on a ferry heading on holiday. The police discover what seems to be the boys body but the lady is adamant that it is not him. The police were convinced though, so she has to stay on the island until a judge can arrive to oversee a DNA test. While on the island visions, dreams and paranoia taunt her as she sets out to find her son. The film has a slow pace and a not terribly surprising plot but maintains interest pretty effectively. There are creepy and unfriendly locals, Lynchian touches and a few suspenseful moments, but the real stars are the locations and direction. The film is beautifully shot by cinematographer Alejandro Martinez, a bleak beauty pervades the entire movie and is supported in compelling fashion by the oodles of intriguing imagery, with a lot of focus on water and animal life. Director Gabe Ibanez started out in animation and did a couple of title sequences for Day of The Beast and a few other films and this background shows as the film is laden with visual interest, it really is a treat for the eyes. However, great as it is to look at, the film is decidedly slow of pace and the creepier elements are not always especially well handled, which compounded with the lack of much in the way of surprise leads to a slightly draggy feel. Also the imagery probably needs a crash course in Jungian symbolism to be fully appreciated. Still, Elena Anaya is pretty fine as the lead and the film is certainly kinda poignant, will probably hit harder with anyone that has kids. So, decent stuff but it doesn't completely come off, could definitely have been tighter and the various elements linked together with more skill. It has a lot of stuff that works and it has rewatch value, but art-house lovers will likely have the best time with it.

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21 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Psychological Thriller

6/10
Author: kosmasp
20 October 2009

There are quite a few good movies from Spain, covering the horror thriller. This one starts really good and has awesome cinematography and really good actors. Still in the end, it doesn't completely deliver on the premise.

One of the main problems being, that it too foreseeable, but still tries to build upon a twist, that you can see coming a long way, before it actually gets revealed in the movie. The hints are there of course and it is pretty nicely done. Maybe if this is your very first thriller, you might be a bit more excited. But all in all, you can watch this, just be patient with the movie and enjoy it's setting and the "view".

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Underrated by the Hollywood followers

7/10
Author: jordang73 from United States
21 December 2011

A very underrated movie. This movie is good, the acting is terrific as well as the photography. The script is a descent one with a twist that works perfectly well, I don't see the so called evident predictability at all. And most of the complaints here are based also in that same old mantra: it's a slow paced movie. It seems that the Hollywood followers need one more century to realize the difference between art and fast food, not to mention the "lack of gore" and all the horror paraphernalia that they want to see all the time. Very good movie, intriguing, touching, visually beautiful. I hope the director doesn't pay too much attention to the unfair reviews here this time and move forward with contentment. Very well done.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Elena Anaya will break your heart

Author: Agnelin from Madrid, Spain
18 August 2011

"Hierro" is definitely worth a watch. It is by no means perfect -it is slow-paced, too slow-paced at times; it has random scenes and seemingly random characters that could have been further exploited; the nightmarish, surreal atmosphere that is hinted at in the first scenes never quite comes to fruition-, but it is a captivating experience for a viewer. Ultimately, what makes this movie a little sea pearl is the depth and the realism of the emotions that it conveys, mostly thanks to a stellar and very inspired Elena Anaya, who deserves every praise as the actress that carries the weight of this drama on her shoulders, and pulls it off masterfully.

In "Hierro", Elena Anaya stars as María, a young mother to 5-year-old Diego. On a ferry journey to the small Canary island of Hierro, Diego vanishes and no trace of him can be found. The first part of the movie is probably the best -we see the young mother whose life is centered around her only son, and then we witness her despair at her loss, and her fruitless attempts at recovering some kind of normalcy. These sequences in particular, with María bordering madness, are especially well-done. One day, María gets a call from the police in Hierro, asking her to return in order to check the identity of a body that could be that of Diego's. Back in Hierro, María will continue her quest for the lost son, in the middle of a desolate -but extremely beautiful- natural setting, and colorful but hostile locals...

While the story doesn't flow as naturally as desired, I never found it hard to follow, nor boring -I was mesmerized by the powerful emotional journey of this mother and for the mysteries that she finds along her way. The ending is very fitting and well-done. The final answer to the young mother's plight and whether it can be predicted or not doesn't matter as much as how she gets there and all the difficulties that she has to surmount, which made this a perdurable story in my mind.

My rating is 8/10.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Changeling?

Author: dbdumonteil
8 December 2010

The disappearance of a child is a subject which was often filmed ;in the last decade ,"flightplan" and " changeling" come to mind .And ,as Michelangelo Antonioni showed in "L'Avventura" ,an island is the ideal place to locate such a story,although his was a desert one.People living on an island are often (if you go by what the screenwriters write,of course,so islanders ,please ,don't feel offended! ) places where the inhabitants are bizarre,hostile and do not like strangers .

"Hierro" is not like the two other American movies :it is a story of paranoia ,in which reality and nightmare collide.When the heroine is in the mortuary ,the audience sides with her and anyway who could accept such a thing:the death of your only child ?Even the police seem suspect ,even the young one who wants to lend a helping hand.This is a slow-moving story,a wandering across splendid but gloomy landscapes, a wandering in the recesses of her mind too for this is primarily a psychological drama . A bit confused, but a laudable attempt.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Where's Wally?

3/10
Author: Ali Catterall from London, England
3 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Certain phrases work upon film critics in the same way vuvuzelas will in the ears of unsuspecting Chelsea Pensioners. Among the most radioactive ("Directed by George Lucas"; "A Platinum Dunes Production") is the seemingly innocuous: "From the Producers Of…" Trust me, 99 per cent of the time this tagline denotes the exact opposite of a seal of quality. It gives me little pleasure, then, to report that Hierro hails "from the producers of Pan's Labyrinth and The Orphanage" – both standard-bearers for the new wave of Spanish-language chillers. The presence of subtitles isn't always indicative of a Horribilis Superior.

Like The Orphanage, this is another addition to the increasingly popular 'Where's Wally' sub-genre: Maria (Elena Anaya) is travelling with young son Diego to the eponymous real-life island, Europe's southernmost point, when he mysteriously vanishes on board the ferry. Six grief-stricken months later she's recalled to the island, where a boy's body has washed up. Nightmares, visions and fleeting glimpses of Diego soon follow. Are the islanders harbouring a secret? Is Maria going crazy? Or what?

Sadly, this simplistic psychological thriller is desperately underwhelming stuff – no mean feat in a movie containing full-frontal nudity and flaming morgue corpses (gosh, these 12A films are a bit racy!) – with a mandatory twist and some half-hearted jump-scares. Meanwhile, the ridiculously over-the-top musical cues and strident celestial choruses made this reviewer want to leap from his seat and tear out the cinema speakers with his bare hands.

On the upside, there's some very pretty, elemental cinematography (that strange, strange island, with its blackened beaches and volcanic turrets, is the movie's real star). Perhaps an almost inevitable Hollywood remake might help flesh out the plot. Or not. Probably not. In any case, I won't be holding out for a Hierro.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Underrated, stylish chiller

8/10
Author: bobhartshorn from United Kingdom
29 June 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gabe Ibanez's stylish directorial debut is a stunning mystery-chiller concerning every parent's worst nightmare.

6 months after the disappearance of her son aboard a ferry to the island of El Hierro, young mother Maria (the excellent Elena Anaya) is summoned back to the volcanic environment after the body of a child is recovered from a watery grave...

To reveal any more of the plot would be performing a shameful disservice as this nifty genre piece has many twists and visual delights lying in wait for unsuspecting viewers. Cinematographer Alejandro Martinez's impressive widescreen compositions and washed out colours perfectly capture the atmosphere and feel of the protagonist's surroundings, turning the island into a character that appears to be manipulating the distraught Maria's emotions and sense of reality. A lengthy sequence on a deserted sun-drenched beach is executed to eerie, haunting effect creating a disturbing dream-into-nightmare set-piece.

Ibanez's measured pace and sure direction (with knowing nods to Lynch and Argento) bring proceedings swiftly and surely to a moving conclusion.

I feel the negative response from the Brit film-reviewing contingent re the 'signposted' twist-ending are somewhat missing the point, as the movie works perfectly well on it's own as a study of a traumatised individual going into meltdown. This isn't the tacky 'Gotcha-with-that-ending-didnt I?!!' M Night Charlatan wannabe that we've been lead to believe. No sir.

If I have any criticisms, i'd have to direct them at M de la Riva's Hermanesque score which, whilst being perfectly serviceable in it's own right, is often over-used to the point of obtrusiveness, particularly in scenes where the visuals and superb sound mixing are working perfectly well by themselves.

But that's a tiny discrepancy in an otherwise intelligent, first rate thriller. Ibanez is a name to watch.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A remarkable and enticing movie

8/10
Author: Rinda DiLibda
10 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hierro tells the emotional and heartbroken story of a grieved single mother María; who had lost her only son Diego while on ferry trip near the island of El Hierro. Following a lengthy investigation of her son's abstruse disappearance; María gets contacted by the police to identify the body of a young boy that they believe it is her son. However, she states that they are mistaken thus having the police asking her to stay in the island for three more days until they get her DNA samples and that of the dead boy's body tested. While on the island, María spots her lost son playing on the beach and from then on embarks on a self exploration of events which leads her questioning the disappearance of another boy, Mateo away from his mother following a horrific car accident years ago.

The movie sets a striking expressive atmosphere of María's painful yet confused emotions toward the loss of her son; including her growing fear of waters ever since the incident, powered by a remarkable portrayal from Elena Anaya which not only gets you feeling and sympathizing with her aching pain but also sensing with her a somehow unfolded mystery triggered by strange behavioral accounts from different people who got involved one way or the other in the case. Even though the movie gets a bit slow in the middle, it stills ensures a well worth watching yet extremely sad ending when everything finally starts to unfold after leaving the viewer with sets of ambiguous clues which might lead you guessing your own perception of the actual truth behind the case depending on your intuition and background watching or reading similar stories or movies.

Personally, the movie made me feel María's loss of her son to the point of shedding some tears; especially at the end when you get to know the whole sad picture of everything. Highly recommended to anyone who might enjoy and appreciate a good well developed storyline, great acting from all those involved as well as great directing though do not except it to be any kind of a gruesome or slaughter type of movie; It is a one which is intended to trigger and elicit your senses as well as your detecting instincts about an abstruse yet extremely sad case.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Dark and desolate island

Author: unbrokenmetal from Hamburg, Germany
21 July 2016

El Hierro is (compared to Tenerife or Gran Canaria) a less known and much less populated island in the Canary Islands. This movie tells the story of a woman who loses her 5 year old son on a ferry trip to that island. The police search leads to no result. Later she finds that her son was not the only kid who is missing, and she begins her own investigation if anyone is abducting children maybe?

I got hold of this Blu-ray rather accidentally (in a 'buy two, get one free' deal), which proves that sometimes the best things are for free. This is a recommendable little thriller, deliberately keeping the story simple, so it can put the emphasis on atmosphere and pictures. Having been to the Canary Islands several times, I'm surprised one can shoot such a dark picture in these sunny places. 'Hierro' is about the fear and anxiety of its main character, so we are talking about psychological thrills here and not a maniac with an axe. The makers put El Hierro to great use insofar as you can run for miles without meeting anyone. Talking of running: Horror movie fans should go elsewhere, but anyone who likes a tasteful dark movie with style, give it a try.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Dull, predictable movie without much substance

4/10
Author: Roel1973 from Netherlands
4 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

María has lost her child and goes to the island of Hierro to identify the body. There she discovers that something is wrong.

And there is. Problem is: it's way too easy to figure out. When María starts following up on the leads of her "investigation", you immediately suspect she's bonkers. Another tell tale sign: actress Elena Anaya walking around like an emotional zombie, which apart from telling us María's crazy, also fails to convey her grief. Nevertheless the writers present her warped view of reality as some great twist at the end.

For a 90 minute movie there's very little plot, which makes María's quest feel quite random. She just wanders around the island, gathering clues. Nothing much happens. The director tries to compensate by hammering home two visual motifs: water and birds. Granted, this makes for some beautiful imagery, but after about 45 minutes you realize he's bluffing. The images suggest that there's more than meets the eye. There isn't.

The locations are well used and the cinematography is beautiful, but they cannot save a dull, predictable movie without much substance.

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