‘Berserker’: Film Review | San Sebastian 2016

Anyone looking out for a young Spanish director to watch should take a look at Pablo Hernando’s Berserker, a deliciously ironic, minimalist noir that is the perfect out-of-nowhere Spanish debut since Carlos Vermut’s 2011 Diamond Flash. Realizing that a great script may help compensate for a peanuts funds, Hernando has fashioned an intriguing, smoothly-engineered plot line that runs alongside in appealingly wry, offbeat fashion till the last twenty minutes when, in a excessive-threat ploy, every little thing we think we knew goes up in smoke.

Such narrative daring from a newcomer would possibly look like conceitedness, but there’s each evidence that if Hernando wished to style a straight thriller, he could. But when it comes to Spanish cinema, not less than, Beserker represents a special calling card.

Novelist Hugo (Julian Genisson) is on the lookout for ideas for his new novel when he hears how Elena (Elena Serrano), the girlfriend of his flatmate’s brother, is in a mental hospital after apparently having executed and beheaded her boyfriend. She has additionally taped his severed head to the steering wheel of their automotive (a putting image, inspired by Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night,” which closes the pre-title sequence). Elena’s medicine problems mean the police put it down to a psychotic assault.

But for Hugo, it does not add up. He decides to investigate just by asking questions, starting along with his flatmate Mireia (Ingrid Garcia-Jonsson, the most experienced solid member, finest identified for Jaime Rosales’ Beautiful Youth), the girlfriend of Elena’s brother. As his investigations continue, and the tantalizing clues (a sheaf of wheat in an envelope, scribbled map coordinates) pile up, in a seemingly unrelated scene a person commits suicide on a shooting vary. Hugo has little more to go on than snips of gossip and an old picture, letting his writerly intuition do the remainder; he works out that everyone involved has, inside a few days of one another, gone beserk.

You’re not a detective, you’re a author,” Mireia reminds Hugo. But in fact, in a way a author is a detective, in search of out truths, unveiling motives and scratching surfaces, with the foremost difference that it is one factor to do it in your imagination, fairly one other to do it in the true world. At one point, having adopted a grid reference to its level in the real world, Hugo gets shot at, apparently from an abandoned constructing, and that’s the purpose at which, unlike a film detective, Hugo calls it quits, happening to put in writing the remainder of his novel by following his personal imagination slightly than the info.

The information”, in this case are very unusual and ambiguous. Daringly, Hernando has gone on document as saying that he knows how the homicide story ends, however that he is not telling. This is a excessive risk strategy that administrators can solely pull off if they’ve one thing better up their sleeve, and though following Hugo’s shooting the narrative would possibly resolve disappointingly for the viewer who has been pulled into Berserker‘s expertly-woven narrative net, it nonetheless shifts laterally into a fascinating, Lynchian area with shades of sci-fi and a few troubling, memorable imagery.

Genisson is likeably downbeat and credibly shambolic as the unlikely detective, blinking and emotionless from behind huge glasses, often provoking the irritation of his flatmate since, for instance, he has no thought what she does for a living and eats practically nothing but potatoes (that is, in spite of everything, austerity Spain). Garcia Jonsson matches him for naturalness, and certainly one of the movie’s pleasures is in listening to the downbeat, one-to-one dialogue on the subject of a homicide which extra conventional treatments would have wrung dramatically dry in each scene.

One standalone sequence, featuring a couple, Ana (Lorena Iglesias) and Henrique (Daniel Mendez) driving into Madrid as she delivers a weirdly summary monologue and a fixed digicam records the unfolding street forward of them, feels, strangely dreamlike and detached from the principle story, however in truth it may very well be its centerpiece, so different is it from something surrounding it. Apart from this dreamy, wordy scene, the ambience in Berserker is coolly restrained throughout, with characters often shot in opposition to bare, pale walls, in rooms largely devoid of furnishings, displaying that an absence of budget – on the part of each the director and the characters – need not necessarily translate into a scarcity of atmospherics.

Production company: Triceratops Films Cast: Julian Genisson, Ingrid Garcia Jonsson, Vicenc Miralles, Elena Serrano, Miguel Esteban, Chema Adeva, Lorena Iglesias, Rocio Leon Producer, director, screenwriter, director of images, editor: Pablo Hernando Composer: Aaron Rux Sales: Triceratops Films Venue: San Sebastian Film Festival (Made in Spain)

No ranking, 101 minutes

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