The Red Squirrel (1993) Poster

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Utterly fascinating! Starts off like a thriller but soon becomes much more complex and difficult to categorize...
Infofreak20 July 2003
'The Red Squirrel' starts off like a Hitchcockian thriller, but soon becomes more complex and difficult to categorize. By the end of this utterly fascinating movie I would be hard pressed to label it. "A mystery" and "a love story" don't give you the whole picture. Just see it for yourself if you want something challenging and original. I know nothing about writer/director Julio Medem, but after watching this film I will rectify that as soon as possible! The basic plot is fairly simple - a washed up pop star contemplates suicide. Before he can do so he witnesses a road accident, a motorbike crash. A young girl is injured slightly but appears to be amnesiac. On the spur of the moment he tells her that he is her boyfriend and invents a name for her (Lisa, his ex-girlfriend, who he still loves). He visits her as she recuperates in hospital, and as it looks more and more likely that he will be found out, he smuggles her out and takes her on a camping holiday. Then things get a bit strange... The plot as I said is fairly simple, but the movie is not. I was hooked from the opening scenes and was fascinated until the very end. I really enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it.
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10/10
One of the greatest movie of the nineties
Phroggy31 October 1999
Yours truly has seen lots and lots of movie, but very few impressed me with sheer intelligence as this one - a gem where you feel every single shot has its real meaning and, more important, the filmmaker think his audience is clever enough to understand what's going on without having it rammed in his/her face. When you only know the title and doesn't know a thing about the plot (as I did when I saw this one at the Gérardmer film festival), you feel stunned, aghast, thrilled, surprised, and then you settle for the ride. Comedy, wit, intelligence (again), romance, mystery, emotion, this one has everything that makes us love movie. Unless you only want special effects and billion-dollars no-brainers, I can't see how this movie can fail to ignite passion. If there actually is justice in this world, Julio Medem will someday be recognised as maybe the most underrated filmmaker of our times - and he hasn't said his last word yet. A masterpiece to be enjoyed again… and again… and again…
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A mesmerising thriller with hints of magical realism
ThreeSadTigers18 March 2008
Julio Medem is something of an underrated figure within the spectrum of world cinema. He regularly produces bold, imaginative and exciting films that shatter the usual preconceptions we might have of the limitations of cinematic language and storytelling in the visual sense, as well as presenting an incredibly intelligent and original approach to the ideas of production design, editing and cinematography. Despite this, however, he has yet to be fully acclaimed universally as a great filmmaker in the tradition of Tarkovsky, Bergman, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Godard, Welles etc - or even ranked alongside contemporary cinematic figures such as Pedro Almodóvar, Lars von Trier, Aki Kaurismäki, Michael Haneke and Guillermo Del Toro. The Red Squirrel (1993) was only Medem's second feature following the elliptical historical satire Vacas (1991) and yet, even now we can already see the themes from that particular film being further developed in preparation for the later, perhaps even great films, such as Tierra (1996), The Lovers of the Arctic Circle (1998) and Sex and Lucia (2001).

Like those films, The Red Squirrel is a multi-layered work rife with possible interpretations and elements of broad, Buñuelian surrealism that are at odds with the more recognisable presentation of reality established in the film's intriguing first half. On our initial viewing the plot can seem incredibly straightforward, revolving around the strange relationship between a suicidal former pop star and the mysterious, amnesiac woman who literally falls into his life. With this section of the film, Medem creates a truly unique modern-day thriller, building on elements of Hitchcock - most noticeably Vertigo (1957), with its iconographical depictions of mysterious blondes, shadowy villains, damaged heroes and seething paranoia - but intelligently subverting them by way of elements as diverse as Salvador Dali, the aforementioned Buñuel, low-budget B-movies, The Road Warrior (1980), elements of magical realism and ideas central to the Basque regional identity; again, drawing parallels with the hypnotic and self-reflexive world of Vacas. These subtle editions compliment the more recognisable characteristics of the romantic-thriller mystery story at the heart of the film to create something that is much more engrossing, enticing, and unique.

As the story progresses and we are drawn ever deeper into the film's central mystery, we begin to note the emergence of further plot influences, such as psychological horror, melodramatic eroticism, heart-stopping suspense, black comedy and eventually full-blown surrealism. As it does, the film then becomes much more complex, taking on issues of love, sexuality, mental and physical manipulation, mind-games and cinematic role-playing. Medem ties the whole thing together with some wonderful set pieces and a staggering use of cinematic style put together on an obviously limited budget. It isn't purely the imagination and intelligence of Medem that impresses us though; with every wild narrative U-Turn or directorial flourish - incorporating everything from Kiss Me Deadly (1955) to Raising Arizona (1987) - being backed up by the fine performances from lead actors Nancho Novo and Emma Suárez, both of whom manage to makes us care an enormous amount about these two protagonists and the relationship that forms between them.

Although it's always tempting to say that both Medem and his work is unlike anything else you will ever see; I think there are some obvious reference points here, many of which have been mentioned above, as well as a certain similar approach to filmmakers such Krzysztof Kieslowski - with the deep, meditative and vaguely hypnotic use of camera combined with the intricate presentation of a narrative driven by the purely psychological; most apparent for example in his epic TV series Dekalog (1989) and one of his greatest films, The Double Life of Veronique (1991) - and especially a filmmaker like Wong Kar-Wai, with the idea of the lead character's enigmatic pop song describing the narrative and the central location manipulating the story so as to take on more self-reflexive, metaphorical notions being very much in keeping with films such as like Happy Together (1997), In the Mood for Love (1999) and 2046 (2004).

As with much of Medem's work, including the 2001 erotic mystery thriller Sex and Lucia, the film uses much in the way of cinematic coincidences, with the various coincidences that form the basis of the plot acting as clues to the narrative. This turns the film into a wonderful example of cinematic storytelling, creating a real mystery for the audience in which all the pieces fall perfectly into place during the film's final act, but still leave us room for interpretation. Without question, this is a delightful cinematic experience that goes way beyond the limitations of film; elaborating on some of the complex ideas regarding narrative, time, character and spirit presented in Vacas, whilst simultaneously foreshadowing the ideas of escape, transcendence, imagination, eroticism and the notion of a story being written as it goes, which will all be further developed in Sex and Lucia. With this in mind, The Red Squirrel is an absolute marvel; an epic, ornate jigsaw-puzzle for the audience, and - without question - one of the greatest films of the 1990's.
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10/10
Highly unusual and hugely entertaining
daffodil-11 August 2002
This is truly one of the most intriguing and satisfying films I have ever seen. It mixes surreal drama with suspense, romance and humour, but unlike the crass attempts of "mainstream" western cinema, "The Red Squirrel" manages this mix without seeming unnatural. The scenes set in the eponymous campsite stir vivid memories and sensations (for me at least) of the slightly bizarre, claustrophobic experiences of childhood camping holidays. As you settle into the comfortingly artificial community of the campsite, you really feel the true awkwardness of the forced politeness of your "camping" neighbours. You also never lose sight of the unanswered plot questions and the inevitable confrontation of several possible truths which are tantalizingly just beyond reach.

Highly unusual and hugely entertaining. Buy it, watch it, spread the word.
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7/10
Strange story about a peculiar love story between a girl who suffers amnesia and her saviour
ma-cortes9 January 2014
Intense as well as offbeat/intriguing drama with top-notch acting , superb photography and sensitive soundtrack . This brooding picture contains a magnificent performance by a beautiful woman , Emma Suarez , and a good support cast full of prestigious players giving right performances . It deals with Sofia (Emma Suarez) who suffers a motorcycle accident and loses her memory . Jota (Nanco Novo) is a musician, (Susana Gimenez) affected when misses his girlfriend , as he witnesses a motorcycle accident . When he meets Sofia who suffers amnesia , he then takes advantage of the deeds and reinvents her name as Lisa and her life according to his desires . Sofia/Lisa impacts on a great scale about Jota's life . As he makes up a name for her and tells the doctors (Ana Gracia , Txema Blasco , Cheta Lera) that they live together as a couple for several years . Later on , they go to a holiday camping and become involved with a couple called Antón (Karra Elejalde), a cabman , Carmen (María Barranco) and their children . After that , there appears a strange character named Felix (Carmelo Gómez) related to her .

Spanish production with fine acting , colorful cinematography , excellently interpreted and rousing score by Alberto Iglesias . Julio Medem directed the film for Sogetel and producer Enrique López Lavigne and it was released in 1993 . Set in San Sebastian or Donostia and at a lagoon in Pelayos De Presa , this interesting and thought-provoking film dealing with a story of solitary people , as a strange , unsettling young , well played by Nancho Novo , desperate after separating from his girlfriend , as well as a twenty-five-years-old girl riding a motorcycle and falling off a bridge , subsequently suffering amnesia , being splendidly performed by Emma Suarez . The picture was considered by the prestigious ¨Daily Telegraph¨ : as taut and intricate as anything by Alfred Hitchcock . This is a thrilling , exciting , deliberate though magnetic drama . It contains marvelous photography , breathtaking musical score and enjoyable production design . It is a riveting film though sometimes a little boring , slow-pace and overlong . Anyway, the film is interesting , thematically intriguing and strange ; Medem has his own style of telling a story . Very good support cast such as Maria Barranco , Chete Lera , Cristina Marcos ,Txema Blasco , Ana Gracia , Monica Molina and Karra Elejalde , Julio Medem's ordinary . Thrilling as well as sensitive musical score mirroring well the scenery, its people and the story line, it was superbly composed by several times Oscar nominated Alberto Iglesias , Julio Medem's usual . In addition , a spotless pictorial cinematography by Gonzalo Fernandez and a willingness , almost perfect of the elements of each shot , every sequence , every space ; being rightly filmed on location in Pelayos De la Presa, El Pardo , San Martín Valdeiglesias, Madrid, Usanos, Guadalajara and San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, País Vasco .

The motion picture was well produced by Fernado Garcillan and originally directed by Julio Medem ; this his second movie, "Ardilla Roja" or ¨The red squirrel¨ released in 1993, was selected for the Cannes Film Festival and it confirmed Medem's talents and won prizes in Fort Lauderdale, Bogota and Bucarest . Medem had been making short movies with a super-8 camera owned by his father until he received a call from a new production company called Sogetel and executive producers Fernando de Garcillán , José Luis Olaizola , Enrique López Lavigne . They were interested in his script titled "Vacas" . It won the Goya Award from the Spanish academy for best new director, and won prizes in the festivals of Tokyo, Torino and Alexandria. In 1998 Medem released " The lovers of the Polar Circle ," considered his best movie by most of his fans . It also became a box-office hit with more than one million spectators in Spain and was also released worldwide. In 2001 his fourth movie, "Lucia and sex ," became a huge hit and began the career of actress Paz Vega who won the Goya for best new actress . Although in 2003 failed with the release , "The Basque ball" , a documentary that portrays the phenomenon of nationalism and terrorism in the Basque Country of northern Spain , it was very polemical and partial . In 2007 directed the flop ¨Caotica Ana¨ and in 2010 , ¨Room in Rome¨, a successful though with not sense film , plenty of nudism and only starred by two gorgeous naked girls . Julio Medem is for sure one of the the most important and original Spanish filmmaker. Well worth watching if you get the chance .
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10/10
Fantastically quirky, funny and entertaining
alexanderjallan9 October 2001
This is rare one. I never see films this good anymore (maybe Bodies Rest and Motion is comparable in the watchability and entertainment value of this film. The story is unique, Jay gets close to ending his own life but is interrupted by a motorcyclist flying through the air onto the beach. She has amnesia, he pretends to be her long standing boyfriend, she has no choice but to go along with it, right?

A seriously clever and duplicidous female lead Emma Suarez goes off with him. Never a dull moment, of course I do love listening to foreign langauges- quite an incentive in this film perhaps. The music is really good and perfect for the mood of the film including the constant reference to his former bands main song and his past love.

That bit towards the end with the car stunt is hilarious. I wish they made more films like this (maybe they do, I don't know, terrestrial TV doesn't show many foreign films unfortunately).
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7/10
Weird and Entertaining Love Story
claudio_carvalho11 January 2009
While struggling to have courage to jump off from a bridge to commit suicide, the musician Jota (Nancho Novo) that misses his girlfriend witnesses an accident with a motorcycle, with the rider falling down on the beach. Jota helps the unknown woman that has amnesia and goes in the ambulance with her to the hospital. Jota invents her name, calling her Lisa (Emma Suárez), and also that they have been living together for four years in his apartment nearby the beach. On the next morning, Jota visits Lisa, who is in session with the psychologist; then he leaves the hospital with her telling that she was discharged. Jota reinvents Lisa's past and travels with her to the camping "La Ardilla Roja", where they befriend the family of a taxi driver. When a stranger comes to the camping claiming that Lisa's name is Sophia indeed and that he is her husband, Jota feels trapped in his lies and questions whether Sophia has had amnesia.

"La Ardilla Roja" is a weird and entertaining love story, with an original and surrealistic screenplay and bizarre characters and situations. The gorgeous Emma Suárez has a stunning performance and shows a great chemistry with the odd and unusual Jota, performed by Nancho Novo. The climax with the arrival of Felix to the camp site is strange and a little disappointing, but the happy end fits well to the plot. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Esquilo Vermelho" ("The Red Squirrel")
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10/10
A Great Film
rtomlin327 April 1999
"The Red Squirrel"

Perhaps the most lushly romantic thriller of the decade, even though Julio Medem's 1993 classic noir thriller "The Red Squirrel" failed to find a distributor in North America, it did manage to find its way onto screens at almost every major Film Festival on the continent, and found its audience that way.

By turns warmly funny, thrilling in the classic sense of the genre, human and humane in a way that you rarely find in film, Julio Medem never makes a false move in his direction of the film, never telegraphs its action, "The Red Squirrel" remaining true to itself, true to its audience and a true classic for those of us who have not given into the, for want of a better phrase, Gen X cynicism which has swept across our social and cultural landscape for much of this past decade.

Available on video (finally!), "The Red Squirrel" would make perfect accompaniment to Mr. Medem's newest film, "Lovers of the Arctic Circle".

Absolutely a worthwhile rental, more than a worthy film to revive on the big screen (please!), and (honestly) my favourite film of the decade.
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9/10
The basis for Tierra, Sex and Lucia and Los Amantes
yurivangeest12 August 2002
Great movie. It grabs you from the start, exciting...a bit obvious at some moments, lots of symbolism, power plays and psychological projections. I saw the movie on video, but I believe this one is definitely one for the big screen. It is enchanting. The end of the movie is a little bit farfetched and overdone (unlike the better Tierra, Los Amantes and Sex and Lucia (my personal favorite)) but this is only a minor comment.

Great to know that Medem will be delivering more inspiring movies :-)))

9 out of 10.
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8/10
Emma Suarez is breathless
caspian19784 December 2003
The Spanish version of Vertigo, this story is more than meets the eye. The plot if very much one sided. Although you do great a nice switch at the end of the movie, the journey getting there is better. A sweet ending with not much to it, the audience is given a happy ending like in much fiction. Emma Suarez is amazing. She steals every scene with her seduction. From the start of the movie, it appears that Emma plays the victim. As the story unfolds, she becomes the aggressor in more ways than one.
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Amazing - but ultimately disappointing
bob the moo8 November 2001
Lisa (Emma Suarez) is in a motorcycle accident and loses her memory. Jay (Nancho Nova) finds her and calls the ambulance. He then pretends to be her boyfriend, convincing her and the doctors of this. They disappear on holiday together to the Red Squirrel camp site where memories steadily flow out and all is not what it seems.

This starts innocently - you're pretty sure that you understand what's going on (Jay is trying to replace his lost girlfriend by naming this lose woman that she is his Lisa and giving her all the memories he wants). However as the film goes on it becomes less clear. The director fills the film with flashbacks of Jay's memories of his girlfriend and his music video, and flashbacks of Lisa's memories combined with a squirrel eyes view of the forest.

As the film continues these flashbacks etc are continually intercut with the main film and separate elements (the hit and run driver, the night time radio slots, the doctor) all get tied into the main story. During the film it's all very exhilarating because you don't fully understand what's going on but you know that all the elements are coming together towards an amazing conclusion. Unfortunately it doesn't deliver at the end - as the strands start to come together the film does start to link up - but it links up with unbelievable, coincidental connections. Rather than having a thrilling tidy conclusion in collapses into symbolism and abstract images and actions.

Emma Suarez steals the show as the complex Lisa, she manages to be believable even when the other actors and surrounding situations seem ridiculous. The director does an excellent job injecting a sense of urgency and confusion into a seemingly straight forward story. Although it does being meaningless arty rubbish in the last 20 minutes, everything that goes before is a consistently visually amazing story.

This is definitely worth watching once - but the final 20 minutes will either frustrate you (if you like logical meaningful endings) or amaze you (if you're into abstract arty stuff!).
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8/10
Qucik Reviews!!
malkane31622 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
One year after Medem came to the spotlight with Vacas, he made The Red Squirrel, a deceptive film about love, sex, paranoia, mystery, violence, and existence. Complex, fascinating, and worthy of many viewings it is a film which marks Medem as a special talent, but which will probably confuse and annoy the average movie-goer with its interesting take on story-telling, heavy imagery and colourful symbolism.

Jota is a young Spanish man, on the literal brink of suicide. A failed musician and lover who sees no future, he stands on the top of a bridge and prepares to jump. From nowhere, a motorcyclist appears, and races off the bridge, crashing heavily below. He goes to the wreckage while an ambulance is called and sees that the rider is a beautiful young women. When he goes with her to the hospital he says he is her boyfriend so that he can stay with her. The doctors say she will recover, but that she has suffered total amnesia. The doctors hope that Jota will be able to awaken her memories, believing he is her boyfriend, so he goes to her and acts the part. She does not remember, but they leave together. Jota decides to invent her life and their past, calling her Lisa, making her into his old girlfriend, Vertigo style and she goes along with it. Soon they are in love, and they decide to go on holiday to the Red Squirrel camp site. However, there both Lisa and Jota's motive's and pasts become less clear as fragments of memories blur with the present, and startling imagery surrounds them. They meet a family at the camp and spend time with them. They have their own problems which gradually rise into view, and Lisa acts strangely around them, in a powerfully erotic manner towards their son, and as a strong-willed women to their daughter. Soon a mysterious man appears who claims to know Lisa, and the lies soon begin to fall apart. Did Lisa know all along that Jota was lying, so she could escape the past? Was Jota trying to pave over the mistakes of the past, or did he have more sinister plans? And who is this new guy? The film descends into surrealism with funny parts, and plain, mind-bogglingly absurd scenes before coming to a close. There is much visual invention throughout the film, which becomes chaotic towards the climax, with that inexplicable '3rd arm punch' being the highlight. There is a tone of mistrust and paranoia throughout the film- we don't trust any of the characters just like they do not trust each other. Apparently Kubrick felt this was one of the best films he had ever seen, and it has much in common with much of his work, both visually and thematically. It draws more comparisons clearly with Vertigo, showing the same attention to symbolism which can be discussed till the end of time. Emma Suarez is perfect as Lisa, one of the best Spanish actresses alive, and Novo is also excellent as the plotting, pity-inducing and paranoid Jota. The only real faults to be found are that it maybe moves too slowly, will deceive everyone, and that the main part of the film is such a jigsaw that the makers and the audience have difficulty trying both to decipher everything in the last part and have a suitable ending. Not everything is answered, but that is the way it should be, and while the ending is satisfying, there is always that lingering suspicion in our minds that the story is far from over.

8 out of 10
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8/10
Hypnotic sensuality
inioi7 December 2015
I am Spanish, and to begin with, i would say that Julio Medem is my favorite Spanish director. I know Pedro Almodovar has had much more attention from the media out of Spain, but to be honest, i think Medem depicts more faithfully the Spanish feeling than Almodovar does.

"Vacas", "La ardilla roja", "Tierra", "Los amantes del Círculo Polar" and "Lucía y el sexo" are his best movies from my humble point of view.

The movie is absolutely dream-like from beginning to end. The plot is rather creative, and could have been based on a true story except its surreal features which are also mixed with comedy situations. One of the most original love stories I've seen so far.

Music is totally absorbing and helps to get into Medem's Visual imagery.

8/10
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10/10
Magical Hitchcock of the nineties!!
nicobeuk18 March 2001
This movie was a unique experience for me: I entered the cinema during the 2nd minute when Emma Suarez just crashes with her motorcycle and was immediately absorbed by it. A magical intriguing story unravels in which the plot seems to be important; actually the process of your thinking while watching this movie is more important, guided by powerful images and sounds. Julio Medem proves to fit in the Spanish tradition of storytellers using slightly distorted or original images that refer to very basic and elemental issues like nature, earth, food and sex and suggesting supernatural events. Reviewing the movie with the knowledge that Julio Medem studied medicine before becoming a director adds to insight in the script. If Hitchcock had been still living he would definitely approve of the romantic atmosphere of this thriller!! The three actors playing the main characters also appear in Medems other movies, which in itself starts to form a magic oeuvre. La ardilla Roja, or "the red squirrel" received many prizes at a number of film festivals, including the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival. I only regret that Julio Medem himself hasn't been playing a character in one of his own films, because he is one of the most handsome men I've ever seen: beating Banderas with a street length!!
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9/10
Very interesting movie, I watched it in High definition in the HD movie channel
roooooor22 August 2006
Very interesting movie, I watched it in High definition in the HD movie channel. I really liked the movie. The movie starts slow and pick up some momentum story wise (don't expect any big twists and turns), this is not your typical drama or suspense movie but a blend of various genres.

Emma Suárez is beautiful. She reminds me a little of Elizabeth Hurley. I loved the scene in which she asks the Felix character, "Don't you want to feel me" and then after that she says "Now it'll bite you". Don't miss it, it was awesome. The sexual tension between various characters is unique, I have noticed that in various movies from Spain. If any of the readers want to recommend some other Spanish movies for me, I would appreciate it.
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3/10
Stay Away
carrpl2 December 2001
What a terrible film. I read somewhere that Stanley Kubrick was an admired of this film and so I thought it might be interesting to take a look--a big mistake; Kubrick is a great artist, but, if this film is any indication, he is not an astute critic. The film looks and feels like low budget camp from the 1980s--although there were a few individual shots that weren't bad. The plot is a once mind-numbingly boring and absurdly convoluted. The Red Squirrel is not good.
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7/10
An enjoyable film - but substantial enough to be "great"
roryl21 January 2000
Having seen Julio Medem's "Vacas", I was familiar with the directors style, humour and pace. Although in an entirely different setting, this film does share some of these traits.

I did enjoy watching this film, and was intrigued from beginning to end - I found the two main characters particularly interesting. However, I don't think it all holds together. The mystery and suspense behind Lisa's past is built up falsely - it certainly was not a major shock in the end as it had been pointed to frequently in the course of the film. A few questions regarding her past still remain unanswered at the end.

Of course, these are criticisms of the plot - and not of the film as a whole. Yet this film was a plot driven one, the revelation not as earth-shattering as Julio Medem had probably intended. As for romance...? I find Jay's pretenses and "Lisa's" actions little ground for true romance.

I hope I am not being too critical - perhaps I was expecting more to be resolved. I would certainly not like to put anyone off seeing this film. It was wonderfully filmed and I am sure I will have a look at it again, but in the end, I believe it is an inferior work to Julio Medem's earlier film, "Vacas".
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9/10
Best movie of most talented Spanish director of the nineties.
wallen197923 July 2001
Magnificent! Exceptionally written, best shooted. This second film of Julio Medem is pure gold. Everything is perfect in it: Emma Suárez as an unbelieving blonde, casting full of excellent spanish actors (Karra Elejalde, Carmelo Gómez, Maria Barranco, etc.). In your first view, it makes you think every second and it's deceiving you all the time with fake plot lines and intentions and meanings. In the second view, you can appreciate so much profundity in everything that involve all characters. You can enjoy this pictures a lot of times and always find new surprises! Brilliant shooting of dreams and a very effective use of the music. A rare piece of pure cinema. You have to see it!
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10/10
a rare romantic masterpiece
Canardo24 May 1999
If you are one of those movielovers who hates all those slimy romantic pics like sleepless in Seatle, city of angels ... but has a wife, girlfriend who wants to see them over and over again, here' s the medicine: rent or buy this movie and enjoy it with your partner on a quiet evening. The story is great, the acting superb, the main actress, actor a treat for your eyes and the directing astonishing!! You won' t find anything better than this and hopefully your partner will agree on this so you don't have to see those awful Romantic films anymore
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9/10
Lets listen to the masters
umilio11 February 2002
Stanley Kubrick said: "The best spanish film in history". Maybe not, but if you see the movie, you will understand him. Medem makes his best film. The film critics thought it was the worst (until Sex and Lucía). Even in Spain it isn´t well known, but if you have the chance of watching it, please do it.
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Follow The Red Squirrel
Chrysanthepop30 May 2011
Julio Medem's 'La Ardilla Roja' follows the same path of surrealism as his previous film 'Vacas'. Intricately layered and open to interpretation, Medem's films are a class of their own. Of course he is influenced by many great filmmakers like Hitchcock, Buñuel and the Coen Brothers, to name a few, and artists like Salvador Dalì and he is not ashamed to show it in his unique films. The story starts off simple enough and then it progresses into something more complicated entangling itself in a psychological drama, a mystery thriller, dark comedy, erotica and surrealism. While the likes of Almodovar have gained recognition in the world cinema circuit, I wonder why Julio Medem still remains less known.

Made with a modest budget, 'La Ardilla Roja' is skillfully executed. The cinematography, lighting and visuals create a very recognizable world and yet the way it's presented contributes to the element of surrealism. The score is used efficiently and the acting is superb, especially that of Emma Suárez, Nancho Novo and María Barranco.

His proceeding releases only prove that Julio Medem is getting better and better with each film. 'La Ardilla Roja' is not one to be missed
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8/10
Great and Spanish - again...
WestMike21 February 2006
Got stuck with this film in a late night broadcast on TV. Wondering about the strange suicidal tendencies of mostly all main actors (some only to be revealed in the final quarter) I was sucked into the straight but obviously multi layered story. Since the days of Bunuel's strange satire films I have become addicted to Spanish cinema and again I was not disappointed. Good mixture of love story, mystery Thriller and some decent nice eroticism.

Shame my VCR is broken so I can not review this fine pic soon again but next time its on I will be with it, too.

Strongly recommended - 8/10*
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9/10
So, women are dangerous...
snauth16 January 2004
... I really love Medem's ability to cast feelings in apparently simple pictures. These takes are truly highly compressed miniatures of human behavior in our days. The problem with the squirrel under discussion here is that it is way too much 1980s when we talk about style and too much 1899s when we want say something about the message. Sure, Medem takes himself the freedom to picture sinister cravings and fears, but after some 100 years of psychoanalysis (also in the arts and humanities) this is less brave than it once was. These women, yes they really make us shudder from fear, since they might only fake their submission. However, that cannot really touch me.

Are you afraid of women who know what they want, that are not created by you?
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9/10
The story for the most part is unpredictable, and ticks along, never becoming boring.
shaunpearson200715 October 2017
The Red Squirrel (1993)

To cut to the chase, I genuinely enjoyed watching The Red Squirrel. The story for the most part is unpredictable, and ticks along, never becoming boring.

As you probably know, the story starts off with a guy standing on a bridge at night, looking down at the crashing waves, wanting to throw himself off. His suicidal thoughts are interrupted by a motorbike loosing control, smashing through the bridge barrier, onto the beach below. As luck would have it, the motorbike was being ridden by the rather pretty Emma Suárez. The crash victim appears to be amnesiac as a result of the accident, which opens the door for what follows - a love story come mystery.

The entire cast play their parts naturally, which is something that adds so much to the experience. There was not a single cast member when I'd wish someone else was playing the part.

I experienced The Red Squirrel on the Tartan DVD release. Picture quality is fine, not exceptional. With a story such as The Red Squirrel, picture quality somehow means less, unlike it would with a film that relies on style over substance.

If like me you like foreign language films and don't mind subtitles, I can recommend The Red Squirrel
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3/10
Out of sync subtitles
Aristides-215 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A deep love of "Vertigo" motivates director Julio Medem to jump into an almost empty swimming pool. Problem is 'V" was a second rate film to fall in love with to begin with. (Question: Did the producers have to pay royalties to the estate of Bernard Herrmann for the almost literal use of some of his music?) So what happens because of the second rated-ness of "V"is that "Red Squirrel" becomes a third rate movie before one's very eyes. Towards the end of it we learn in flashback that Lisa was seen in passing by Jay before the accident that supposedly brings two strangers together and that this brief sighting so smote him that he wrote what would become his favorite song. In the beginning Jay is about to off himself, for reasons ultimately that are never revealed, when he witnesses a motorcycle smashing off an elevated road and landing in the sand of a beach. But folks, the woman driving turns out to be Lisa (Elisa), who he had already met and fallen desperately in love with, after seeing her for less than sixty seconds. THE EXTREMELY LONG ARM OF COINCIDENCE ONCE AGAIN POISONS THE WELL. Sometime later in the movie we learn from Elisa/Sofia's brother that she was never hurt badly enough to suffer from amnesia. Even Hitchcock didn't mess up logic this much. Jay, because of his lying about E/S being his live-in girlfriend and subsequent behavior indicates that he should be in a mental hospital getting daily analysis and the appropriate medication. Perhaps too a red squirrel may have deep psychological meaning to the Spanish nation but to this North American, the repeatedly visual references to it had zero affect. By the way, a massively huge problem with Red Squirrel was that the subtitles were out of sync with the actors lips. Whoever the bottom feeder was who allowed this to happen should be horsewhipped at the grave of Luis Bunuel.
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