|Index||7 reviews in total|
A brother and sister fall victim to an express kidnapping, during which they are hideously violated. (Although several reviews specify what happens, I think it's better not to give it away. Suffice to say the kidnappers borrow a page from the Japanese army's Nanking handbook.) The film follows the aftermath of this abuse, showing how the siblings' character and behaviour are altered. Except for a surprising reprise of the horror, there are few actual events in the balance of the film. Much of what we see on screen is the protagonists acting surly and withdrawn, avoiding people or giving monosyllabic responses. (The clueless parents see both their children begin to behave out of character at the same time but never seem to consider that there might be a common cause.) I believe it would take truly superior actors to infuse this script with the drama befitting the characters' experience and in my opinion, Bernal and Vega are not up to it. This may be a minority opinion, since other viewers have found their performances compelling. Of course, the script doesn't give them a whole lot to work with and bears the lion's share of the responsibility for the tedium of the siblings' goings-on. However, the kidnapping scene could, by all rights, have showcased first class dramatic skills and the leaden acting we see there tells us the actors have a long way to go. (The leads do shine by comparison to their captors, though. It is hard to watch the kidnapper give his spiel and not think of Hannah Arendt's phrase "the banality of evil." Considering the capabilities of these actors, I believe making that scene so detailed showed poor judgment.) One thing worth highlighting is that this film is closer to a vignette than a structured narrative. Despite some indications to the contrary, I believe there is no culminating climax or resolution--it is pretty flat after the kidnapping. The film is supposedly based on a true story and may hew very close to real life, which, of course, is seldom a structured narrative. That may be some viewers' cup of tea; if it isn't yours, think twice about seeing this film. In short, there is a disparity between the film's subject matter and the execution. The premise is not for the faint of heart but its enormous dramatic potential is dissipated in flat, repetitive scenes.
The story is good. The fact that it is condemning a real problem makes it even better. For a while, I thought it was going to be a powerful film, but it was not. You will find yourself counting the minutes for the movie to end. The preamble to the peak moment is boring, then less than 20 minutes of a good sequence, perfectible, but good enough, considering the roughness of the situation. That's it. The rest is dull, repetitive, and flat. The plot offered plenty to work with. The story is claimed to be real, thus there were many other things they could have shown, expressed, and exposed to move the audience. However, all the opportunities were wasted with a weak and God-fearing approach to the post-traumatic behavior. They lost it. Toward the end, another dramatic moment is featured as an irrelevant inconvenience solved with Ana giving the cold shoulder to her brother. They took the easy way to solve the conflict. It is fair to say that the photography is flawless. Marimar Vega's performance is the best of the film.
DANIEL & ANA is based on a true incident, and reveals a relatively unknown aspect of The Porn Industry. The thesis of the film is that, especially in South and Central America, some individuals engaging in online pornography may not be willing participants. Although the film is darkly bleak and disturbing, it presents an unfortunate aspect of human behavior. If an individual has been subjected to extreme sexual or psychological horror, they might not react in a way that one would ordinarily expect. I think that many people who have commented on this film have failed to recognize this important fact. The behavior that Daniel engages in after the event, although wildly inappropriate, is not in any way out of the realm of possibility. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not easily 'cured', or even understood, and can cause significant impairment in all aspects of human functioning.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I hope you get to read this after, or instead of, the other reviews.
Firstly, I do respect every person's personal point of view. What we
take away from a film is subjective and a reflection of our own
This is supposed to be a true story, and I don't doubt it.
A brother and sister are forced by kidnappers to do, what in my mind, is probably one of the most traumatic things imaginable, have sex with each other. The emotional trauma is unfathomable on many levels. Put yourself in one of their shoes and think about how you would feel, and how you might have reacted in that situation.
What is successful about the movie is the realism with which the incident is filmed: there is no soundtrack of ominous musical creepiness. And then, how the shame, fear, "lost-ness", sadness, depression, and emptiness that follows are portrayed. As victims, how do they cope with all of that at once? They certainly can't look each other in the eye after such a horrific experience. Nor can they tell their parents. She is older and gets herself to a therapist. He is much younger and flounders, even as she tries to have him accompany her to sessions. Even when things seem to get better for one, the other's hurt manifests itself in tragic ways.
There is none of the anger and object-throwing that would be seen in a Hollywood-type movie. None of the melodrama of a Lifetime movie. What there is in the movie is the beauty of the director's quietness, and the restrained acting ability. This allows the feeling of horror, and the anguish that follows to permeate us, as it does the victims. Every emotion is legible on their faces.
This is not an easy movie, by any means. It is not meant as 'life's-horror-story" entertainment. It is a reality that seems very far away from our own, but, with a little bit of empathy, can be deeply felt.
Not for everyone, but definitely worth seeing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Good film, not a great film, but very good. This is one of those
stories you hear that happen in some areas of Latin America. A couple
is abducted and then forced, under threat of death by gunshot, to
perform sex acts in front of a camera. In this case it is a true story
and, they are siblings.
This happens fairly early in the film, maybe 1/4 of the way through. Be forewarned, it is fairly graphic. The rest of the film deals with the two of them trying to put their lives back together. After about a week of not leaving her room, Ana manages to force herself to talk to a psychologist. Daniel, can not seem to bring himself join her in session though and refuses to seek help. When it seems like they are finally starting to be able to talk to one another again, Daniel sneaks into her room and rapes Ana.
At this point, the movie seem to be really lacking. The story lacks any sort of closure. Daniel is becoming violent and is developing an association between sex and violence. Ana gets married (she was already engaged when the movie starts) and runs off to Spain with her new husband. The film just sort of ends there. The filmmakers remind us that it is a true story, and make a point in telling us how common this really is. They then fail to tell us if Daniel and Ana ever reconcile. What happens to Daniel? Does Daniel get help, end up in prison, or ??????? It is their story but it leaves you hanging when they are at a terrible point in their relationship. What happened next????????
The title characters are teen-aged brother and sister who are kidnapped and forced to perform such unspeakable acts that their relationship is shattered forever. It's interesting to see how each reacts to the tragedy. The slow pacing is frustrating, given that dialog is sparse and there are endless scenes of characters doing nothing but staring into space. As Daniel, Bernal gives a one-note performance. He barely speaks five lines throughout the movie, making it hard to understand what he's going through or to sympathize with him. Vega fares better as his sister, an outgoing young woman whose spirit is severely deflated by the attack.
Movie has an amazing first act---sort of drawing you in with its low key matter of factness to a jaw dropping end of the first act---the big thing that happens to the 2 characters happens almost out of nowhere (the only warning you get that the film is even gonna focus on the 2 siblings is at one point the younger brother's friend says to him yo your sister is hot to which he responds the way a normal kid would--something like "nah she's ugly but at least she doesn't look like a piece of s--t like you.") Hell even the abduction when it comes--happens unexpectedly while the two of them are in the car and she's yelling at him to get a haircut for her wedding. That kidnapping of course and the thing that happens there is quite creepy, uncomfortable, spellbinding, and way too real life which makes it all the scarier (no glossy movie star posturing here.) The rest of the movie is dedicated to the emotional damage this event has on the pair of siblings. While seeing the aftermath of such trauma upend both people's lives is interesting to a point---the movie itself starts to feel more than a little repetitive--and even tho the low key tone of the film is very much an asset--the movie starts to feel a little bit dull as you sit there waiting for something else to happen to either one of the two characters. (which is completely ironic given that something major already happened---something that happened when we weren't expecting it and something that should by all means be more than enough story wise.) Just when it seems like the movie is going to break out of its cycle of scene after scene of the 2 characters moping around their house looking vacant and blank---the film more or less ends. (the sister tries to heal herself by getting therapy and trying to confront what happened to her head on--essentially trying to get her life back together---while the brother just goes deeper and deeper into shell shocked madness....which results in several sequences that make up the pretty startling ending of the film.) The last 2 or 3 scenes are interesting enough in that your sense of suspense picks back up enormously. (i had no idea watching the film that those scenes would end up being the end scenes though which make you realize that the ending is just as low key and out of the blue as the abduction at the beginning of the film was.) I won't say what happens--but its not so much that something happens so much as the sustained tone of menace and creepiness that the director successfully punches up in those last few scenes.
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