Las horas del día (2003) Poster

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A Little Masterpiece
david19 August 2008
I saw this film last night and I can't stop thinking about it. Spanish director Jaime Rosales, who i know nothing about, except he is a relatively young director, makes a movie so daring with so much confidence in his craft, that it is truly amazing.

A lot of scenes in this movie seem to be pointless, as if they lead to nowhere. It is the story of a young man in a small city that lives with his mother, owns a not so popular clothing shop for the entire family, and has a girlfriend just for the sake of having a girlfriend. his life is totally empty and it seems he can't express himself to other people. he is just existing, goes by day by day, with no goal and no hope. at one point in this film it is pretty obvious that nothing really seems to be important to him, even his mother and girlfriend. and then the killings. 20 minutes into the film and the first murder takes place. after that the dread you get from the character is enormous. you get the feeling the next murder will happen any second. there is no logic behind it, just pure and brutal violence that emerges from the depths of this poor young man. the killing is the only reminder for Abel, the film's protagonist, that he is actually alive. it gives him the only true meaning to his life because it's the only thing that makes his adrenaline to rush. it's the REASON to live.

Rosales' direction and writing is an achievement. this is not a classic serial killer or psychopath movie. generally, in this kind of movie we know from the beginning that the killer is a disturbed person, but in "Hours of the Day" you don't. the only resemblance to Hitchcock's "Psycho" for example, is the fact that Abel lives with his mother. but he has a girlfriend, so that undermines the classic notion of the serial killer as someone who has an oedipal problem or a twisted libido. Rosales does anything in his power to make this movie look as if nothing important really happens, including the murder scenes, directed with the same ease and detachment as the dinner scenes or other everyday dialogue scenes. but the effect is huge and it makes the audience wait in dread for the next time he'll kill. another thing that helps is the fact that the movie has no music on its soundtrack. it makes the anxiety even grow bigger.

You can't help but thinking of someone like Michael Haneke. I'm sure Haneke really liked this movie if he saw it. if you want to compare it with something from Haneke's work than I guess it's best to compare it to "Piano Teacher" and not to "Funny Games". it has exactly the same violent energy plus the fact that in "Funny Games" we know it's a discussion about violence in society. in "Hours of the Day" it's slightly different. the central thesis here is that violence is a human phenomenon that can not be really explained except with medicine or psychopathology. "Funny Games" is a film about the way we watch films and "digest" them.

The end of "Hours of the Day" is probably the most excruciating. we seek moral relief. that is always the case with murder films. the natural hope of the audience is that the killer will be caught and killed, or at least brought to justice. this does not happen in the film. because "Hours of the day" is not a film about movies nor a thriller. it's a movie about pathology, chaos and human frustrations. it's a film about the other side of the human experience, the one that we are all afraid of, and presented to us in its true face. without music, without sound effects, and even without big bloody scenes. it's violent reality right in yer face, and next time it can happen to you.

One last thing: the lead actor does such a great job that I would really be afraid of stumbling upon him in a darkened alley! great stuff.
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10/10
Real Life is Scarry................
ramsri8122 September 2005
This is one of the best movies I have seen, not because of the story, not because of the presentation of the movie, not because of the actors(all are brilliant in this on though), just the fact that real life is much more stranger and weirder than fiction. The pace of the movie added to the boring every day chores of Abel is what makes this movie special. I was expecting something exciting to happen through out the movie and when it happened it takes a takes some time to settle in. The fact that Abel doesn't feel a thing on the people he has killed makes it more special. No motive , no murder is mostly the case in many crime movies but this one breaks the stereo type and shows there are some things more stranger and weirder than motive. The actors are hand picked for their roles and Abel,Tere,Trini,Marcos and Abel's mom are just perfect. Well I like movies which leave you really unsettled in the end and this one does it to you. Probably "Funny Games" will one movie which you can relate but most movies wont come in this Genere. REAL MASTERPIECE ......... 10/10
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7/10
disturbing stuff
alvaro_dd12 June 2003
This hiper-realistic film is one of the most original serial killer films I have ever seen. The main character, Abel, is the owner of a boutique in the Barcelona suburbs. We follow him through his extremely boring everyday activity, arguing with his girlfriend, helping out a friend to start an advertising business, trying to sell his shop...an anodyne, ordinary life, except for the fact that sometimes Abel brutally murders total strangers with his bare hands. The unnerving thing about this movie, and what makes it a very disturbing experience is that no explanation is given for Abel´s killings. Actually they are shown with the same detachment as the rest of Abel´s boring activities. Even though there are no grisly details nor gore, the actual murder scenes are difficult to watch because they are shot in the same realistic, quasi-documentary style. On the other hand, Abel´s criminal activities do not interfere in his daily routine, so if the murder scenes were cut, you would see a fairly accurate description of the life of an ordinary young man in any part of the western world. This is not a film for everybody: there is virtually no plot, it is excruciatingly boring sometimes, and the violence is too real to be fun. But you should see this film if you are tired of standard horror films with hollow stories and characters. This film is virtually different to anything you have seen (except maybe Michael Haneke´s "Funny Games"). Although everything in it is familiar, in the end the film, like its main character, remains a mystery, an abyss in the midst of routine. There´s no final revelation or catharsis. Maybe that is why, unlike most contemporary films, it haunts you for a long time after leaving the cinema, even if you would not consider it a pleasant experience.
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2/10
Boring and pointless
camilla-bertilsson2 February 2004
I like Spanish film, and I do not think that it necessarily have to happen something every second of a movie. But this... It was so boring, shots of the main character washing a plate for minutes, and then he is suddenly murdering somebody! Next shot - the boredom continues... You never get explanations, nothing ties the things together - this was simply a waste of time to watch and I had to be ashamed for dragging my friends to this sad excuse of a Spanish film.
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6/10
Anything or nothing
eraser_head28 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Rosales' odd film could mean anything or it could mean nothing. It could be the ultra-clinical study of a sociopath - and there are clues throughout that Abel is utterly unable to empathise with anyone. But then not every sociopath is a random killer, and vice versa.

The mundane conversations that make up 95% of the film could hint at something greater, or they could just be... well, mundane, as 95% of real life is.

My only interpretation is that Abel's first victim (a woman) represents, to him, all the strong females in his life with whom he's invariably weak and feckless. The second, the old man at the train station, represents Abel himself. He overhears the man's daughter lamenting him for 'never doing anything any more' and 'wanting her old dad back' - very similar comments to those that Abel's girlfriend makes before they split up. Thus Abel, in killing the man, is ultimately trying to purge his own pathetic existence.

But all this is semi-philosophical film-school analysis, and Hours of the Day simply resists it. It's a tough film to get through not for its brief bouts of shocking (yet equally clinical) violence, but its total banality. And whether it's actually any good is the toughest question of all.
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1/10
I would prefer a 2-year jail sentence !!
ajon122 July 2004
Las Horas del día or The Hours of the Day, is a completely worthless attempt by the director at portraying the meaningless aspects of life. There was nothing I enjoyed in this film, apart from the scene where the old man asks ridiculous questions on the train. The screening is simple, actors below average and setting.... strange?? I totally disliked this poor excuse of a film. So what is this movie(?) trying to tell the viewer ?? Financial problems and everyday boredom eventually leads to an infirm mind and MURDER ?? How very revolutionary! And what about that UniSex message? What the * was that?

Conclusion: Probably the worst Spanish film I've ever had the misfortune to watch. And I do speak Spanish... 1 / 10. Terrifically boring.
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3/10
It takes talent to make murder a non-event.
randomly_confused27 July 2004
I like to think I'm a bit of a cinephile, certainly the majority of the films I really like are either foreign or art-house films; but this film really did nothing for me.

The story centers around Abel, an ordinary guy who works in a clothes shop. On the surface he leads a fairly normal (if a little dismal) life. He lives with his mother but is looking for a place of his own. He has a steady relationship with a beautiful girlfriend, and manages his business amiably. But underneath this calm facade lurks a vicious streak which waits to make itself known.

I sincerely apologise, because if you go in to see this film after reading that review you'll hate my guts. On the surface, it seems the point of this film is to be as pretentious as possible. It's filmed in academy, for goodness sake. There are long, tedious shots of nothing in particular, and reams of meaningful dialogue which hint at unfathomable significance. But what really got me was the banality of it all; and perhaps this was the point of the film. There was no tension to the scenes where Abel attacks his victims, and no development to his character - he didn't strike me as a tortured soul pushed over the edge, or some vicious character behind a facade of normality. He just seemed to be an asshole set on ruining peoples days (and lives, etc) The girl I was with actually fell asleep during the first murder.

The only emotion this film managed to elicit from me was annoyance at having wasted two hours of my life watching it. I give it three stars; and the only reason I gave it that was the talent it took to make murder into a non-event.
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3/10
A curious (and boring) serious killer
daniel Carbajo López18 October 2006
Abel is a quiet man that lives with his mother and works in a clothes shop. As most people, he has his little problems and daily routine. He also has a hobby, one thing he does when he is too much nervous: he kills the first person he mets. It is not a bloody murder or perfect, in fact they are pathetic, he is not a blockbuster-killer, he is not more that a person that kills when he is too much annoyed. With these plot, it seems that the film can result quite interesting, but it is absolutely boring, the main character is too much incoherent and stupid, the acting is not precisely good, nor the directing. Most scenes are long and too much slow, which makes the film mostly empty and action-less. It takes 2 hours to explain us a story which doesn't tell us anything, the ending is terribly done and it leaves the taste that you could have done something better with your time, rather than watching this film. Despite that, it is necessary to admit that the murder scenes, though not being very good, are the best of the film. Being able to make a murder something as usual and empty of thrilling is not easy, and the director does it quite well (well, it's its intention), which can make the waiting (for the end of the film) a bit shorter.
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