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Emilio Martínez Lázaro
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This one kicks off as if it's going to be another one in the Les petits mouchoirs / Little White Lies and Perfetti sconosciuti / Perfect Strangers line, with Maribel Verdu celebrating her fortieth birthday by inviting all her intimates to the dazzling coastal villa to which the departing house keeper gives her the keys.
Maribel's nephew, young Marcos Ruiz, is suitably impressed like his parents, Verdu's sister Miriam Alvarez and her abusive lawyer husband Antonio de la Torre (Marshlands, Ballad for a Sad Trumpet), failing restaurateur Eduard Fernández and his preganant wife Nora Navas (Pa negre), rich Alex O'Dogherty arriving by helicopter and old flame Ginés García Millán with his new girl fiend sexy starlet Paula Cancio who's waiting on a part in a movie with Ricardo Darin where she might even have scenes with him.
There's a bit of "Whose place is this?" and they do the "Money Money Money" Cabaret number together. Tension with Cancio, who is picky about the lavish breakfast spread as Verdu lists it out finishing "and you want alfalfa!" Turns out there's resentment about Maribel's sudden prosperity. So far
However things take an unexpected turn, moving the piece into a dark conspiracy. This has a number of startling moments - de la Torre spelling out their black mail or listing out the lack of people who might notice Millán's absence with stunned Cancio looking at them when they say "His friends."
It seems impossible that they are going to go there but the cynicism of the ending is alarming.
The ever admirable Verdu is growing through successive Joan Crawford like screen incarnations making her one of the most interesting leading ladies. The rest are faultless. The technique is best A feature stuff and playing the action in the luxurious poolside setting registers.
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