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Two veterinary school drop-outs find that they are in way over-their-heads when they commit Mexico's most improbable heist -- the looting of its sacred Anthropology Museum - but the invaluable treasure quickly turns into an inescapable and ruinous curse that is impossible to fence.
Surrealism and realism veer off the highway to Acapulco
The ultimate mystery of Museo is this: What would make a young adult from an upper middle class household pull off a heist of ancient artifacts from the Mexico City Archeological Museum. Juan Nuñez is disaffected, stalled in his career, emotionally disconnected from all unless he can put down his sister and his passive, sluggish friend. He is the artifacts he steals--but worse. Something within him feels plundered from a sacred past he lost but can't locate, transported in time, offended by modern culture. He is a wandering ghost whose eventually will make all those around him reinforce his self-hatred. Despite this downward slide, he finds a piece of dignity in the end.
I wish the film could keep this riveting plot driving down the road from Mexico City to the country's ancient ruins to Acapulco and back. The performances aren't the problem. Gael Garcia Bernal is always interesting to watch, but he is crushed under the weight of a director who tries too hard to get his point across. The heist scene makes you think you're going on a joy ride ending in disaster. But it's the major highlight of the film. After that it stalls repeatedly, stuck in contemplative or surreal scenes--at times, clearly reminiscent of Fellini at his most decadent and surreal. The movie going on much too long, long after the audience gets it already and is ready to move on.
A good 1/2 hour editing could have turned this movie into a wonder. I would show Museo and Raising Arizona to a class of young filmmakers to understand how a film can either go so right or so wrong.Take the time to see the Coen Brother's Raising Arizona. It was able to connectcrime, the bizarre world, slapstick and the wild unconscious of character, acting without self-knowledge. No, you don't have to simply be like two of the greatest of heist films, Jule's Dassin's Rififi and Topkapi, keeping it light, enjoying the fun of getting away with it. But you don't have to film with a density that sinks project in the Pacific.
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