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Urs Peter Halter
Burnt Money, is set in Argentina in 1965. This true story follows the tumultuous relationship between two men who became lovers and ultimately ruthless bank robbers in a notoriously famous footnote in the annals of Argentinian crime history. Nene, Angel and Cuervo are bank robbers who flee from Argentina across the border to Uruguay after a large-scale hold-up that turns bloody. Angel is hurt and the three must lay low until Angel recovers. Nene and Angel are known to everyone they know as "the twins" because of their resemblance, but the two are not brothers at all - they are involved in a steamy homosexual relationship. To get back to Argentina, the group must first wait for Fontana, the brains behind the robbery, to arrange for passports. Anxious from hiding, Cuervo decides to break curfew and go party. After Nene and Angel also decide to take off, Nene meets a prostitute named Giselle and Angel ends up getting in a fight. The group is forced to abandon their refuge and Angel and ...Written by
Strand Releasing <www.strandreleasing.com>
A Dream State Made Real, Feelings Taking Over, Make This Heist Film Its Own Beast.
Burnt Money, a provocative, severe crime thriller from Argentina, begins like a Spanish- language Guy Ritchie narrative, with an assembly of criminals arranging a heist. Yet the heist is over in a glance. The lion's share of the story is the impact of the job. So much of this film seems already acquainted, from its appealing crime thriller stylization to its narrative echoes of Reservoir Dogs, Heat and Bonnie and Clyde, that when it takes one of its unprecedented turns it overcomes you. There are a lot of unforeseen detours.
The opening introduces us to Angel and Nene, gay lovers who live in a murky Buenos Aires apartment. A narrator notifies us that they are known as "the twins." After showing how they met, in a grungy public restroom, the narrator distinguishes the one telling way they are similar: "the still eyes, the lost glare." The knifelike center on character relationships, and the novelistic way the story is divulged through sequential narrators, featuring internal monologue, prepares us to pull back to enmesh the "twins" in the heist. Neither they, nor the story, are as they appear.
Leonardo Sbaraglia plays Nene with scorched vigor. He has the loose-hipped walk of a younger Robert Downey, Jr., yet oozing even more with suggestiveness. His underhanded approach to life is not smug or justified, but rather self-assuredly devoid of any overeagerness or vanity. Eduardo Noriega brings a preyed-upon sentimentality to Angel. We feel at first as if he may be slow, and perhaps to some extent he is, but in a way that is lost in emotionally charged internalized delusions, a return to the primordial dilemma. He seems afloat in dissolution, a dream state readily seen. And their emotional holding out becomes a game that neither wins. Where they are intimate, there is peace restored, and there are religious obstacles.
The robbery of an armored car goes awry. The thieves, one of them injured, must stay completely out of sight. Law-sided demoralization and violence are initial drives of the story's turning point though not at the center. The film, which is based on a true story, offhandedly concedes that the lines separating cops from robbers are obscured, but its focus remains tight on the robbers.
One should not write this film off as categorized for a gay target audience. Though it revolves around the two implicitly loving leads, Burnt Money seems to compete with much more vivid heterosexual pairings. Nene swings both ways, and Cuervo, the getaway driver played by Pablo Escharri, has a girlfriend who figures integrally in the plot. After the men flee to Uruguay, police beatings push the left-behind girlfriend to give them up. Their status revealed, the robbers must stay out of sight, pressures mounting. Anti-gay implications add to the enmity. They don't trust each other, everyone keeps a gun at hand, but attachments gradually solidify nonetheless.
Burnt Money could have almost been made in the 1970s, when a film with the promise of spectacle in its subject matter was almost expected to take the more complex way to the end, no matter what the end may be. And yet the film reaches a climax we've seen so many times. Nevertheless, even in its brutal execution which extrinsically offers not much in the way of variation on a device dating back to the original 1932 Scarface, it maintains a theme of dissolution, a dream state made real to them, of feelings taking over, a theme which, in the end, makes the film its own beast.
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