Miguel is a truck driver who dreams of owning a service station. To raise money he agrees to sabotage a truck of his boss' rival, which results in the death of its driver. Miguel gets his station but is haunted by what he did to obtain it.
José Antonio de la Loma,
The more and more I think about this film, the less and less I dislike it. And trust me, when I came out of the cinema, I disliked it.
The ending of the film was bizarre to say the least; did it really ask itself to be taken seriously? Everything (except the action) would seem to suggest that it did, and yet the final few moments were accompanied by howls of laughter from the audience.
There are hundreds of problems with the movie (indeed my friend said she thought it was one of the worst films she had ever seen), and I think that the move never quite transcends these problems. The pace is too slow, the secondary characters are never quite developed, the plotline just too divorced from modern, urban city life that most of us live in to make sense. Yet despite all of these, the film does have certain things to recommend it. For example, the nature photography is fantastic, and the way the film captures the nature of the seasons through the village is breathtakingly beautiful.
Las Ratas is lyrical and poetical about the countryside that the action is set in, and it works very well. The main characters are somewhat bizarre, but they are well rounded, so bizareness is not really a problem.
Several scenes in the film are extremely graphic (indeed the opening of the film carries a warning that it should not be seen by anyone under thirteen (Spanish censorship laws being less strict than their counterparts in the USA or UK)), and I admit to finding myself wincing at the gorier parts: for this is life in the country, accompanied by birth, death and slaughter. (This is not a film to watch if you like pigs). Yet the camerawork always maintains its reverence for wildlife, and the position of man amongst all of this is probably only questioned at the end.
This is a very literary film: if you are watching it without subtitles (as I was), you may find that you follow only the visual action, and very little of the dialogue, save very few repeated phrases.
Perhaps I had a harder time than most with this film because I did not understand a lot of the dialogue. Perhaps it would work a lot better with subtitles. Perhaps it would work better if I lived in the countryside. Perhaps all of these are true. But I really cannot see myself watching Las Ratas again to find out.
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