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Alberto is dead and can no longer hide it. Make-up and perfume can no longer conceal his quickly decomposing body. Dismayed, he decides to withdraw from the world. But before surrendering to his living death, Alberto forms an unusual friendship with Luly, the manager of the 24-hour gym where he works as a night guard. Written by
There has been a lot of talk surrounding Mexican movie Halley. The biggest word to come from their lips is zombie and that might make you groan. It seems on an yearly basis we get a new infection of monsters and obsess over one. A few years we have had the vampire and now there seems to be an influx of zombie movies. Nevertheless, Halley seems to bring a different few on the genre and entwines it perfectly with an artistic flare. Halley is about Bento, a gymnasium security guard who keeps himself alone. Whether or not Bento is a zombie is debatable but he is definitely different. Bento is plague with some illness which means he is decaying. His skin is rotting, he has maggots eating at him and he keeps himself going with embalming fluids. When he collapses in a train station, he even wakes up in a morgue. Contrasting to the bright lives of Mexico City, Bento struggles daily to keep his self going in this moving film about isolation and a man and his body. Halley is a very slow and paced movie. And that may not be necessarily bad, all though it may lose favour with audiences. In fact, Halley creeps along with a plodding Bento. But this pace, or lack of, actually works well with our lead character and we are drawn into his tired life. Director Sebastian Hoffman, with his feature film debut, contrasts Bento's life against the fit and healthy bodies of those around him in the gym as well as the lights of Mexico City. The audience itself is brought into a world of isolation and the effect is almost claustrophobic , a forlorn world bearing down from the screen. Even when Bento is taken out with Silvia, his vivacious manager, we are given a more bitter impact of loneliness as Luly too is a fleeting, friendless soul despite her attempts to be otherwise. Lead actor Alberto Trujilo, who himself lost pounds and life for the role of Bento, is a terrific body actor who gives a quirky grotesque performance that begs sympathy for our monster. And what Halley never makes us forget is how much of a monster Bento has become. The gruesome elements are much here but there aren't overdone. There are incredible make up effects here to show the deterioration of Bento's body. While it is not graphic and forced down our throats, the shock and grimace is still there, particularly at the finale which strips us cold in its absurdity. Halley is a simple movie which does not over complicate in its genre and is a odd tale about humanity, or someone's lack of. Hoffman here effectively gives us a beautifully shot portrayal of a body betraying a man causing him to withdraw from society. While some may not like the films drag, you cannot help but feel drawn into the painful life of Bento and others that we may pass by as we go about our lives. Whatever Bento is beating with, it is an empty one and it resonates loudly with the audience. 4/5 TTFN
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