So I finally got around to watching Intacto, subtitles ‘n’ all! Intacto is number 2 on the list so I’ve been trying to get my hands on a copy for a while. The last one had no subtitles and seeing as I don’t speak Spanish it didn’t really work out. There is a bit of English in there but not enough for anything to make sense and this is a really confusing film.

It’s really hard to describe because it takes itself so seriously yet is set in (what I hope) is an imagined world. In this world you’re born with luck and others are born with the ability to steal it all. Yep, this is a film about gambling in a world where luck could be yours for the taking. Basically all the characters are gambling addicts who must gamble on more and more absurd things to get to the ultimate test of luck. A game of russian roulette with a man who has never lost and steals all the gamblers’ luck when they die (or if he touches them) and the luck of those around the dead gambler. And you have to dress like him to play the game and he has a bag on his head while you take your shot – not creepy or weird, no ma’am not at all. Of course, the guy runs a casino in the middle of the desert – as you do. We all know casinos grow in deserts.

So if you watch Intacto you will spend a lot of time watching men (and a few women – just a few – apparently women are not so lucky?) gamble on dumb dangerous things like running blindfolded across a highway or racing blindfolded through a forest. Blindfolded – kind of like I thought I probably could have been during this film although that would make it hard to read the subtitles.

Really this is just two really annoying guys, one who happens to be really lucky and one who lost all his luck to Casino Guy, trying to get to the roulette game to shoot Casino guy. Why not just walk up to him and shoot him at the supermarket? I do not know. I suppose because this film is all yellow and noir. (I’m starting to think yellow and noir may be a bad sign for me in a movie since the yellow noir fest that was Kaante.)

Maybe it was just too subtle for me but I really felt like the movie was quite isolating. It was hard to feel sympathetic towrd the characters and the gambling just seemed dumb. I mean, do people really gamble their family away? A world where people gamble the house on whether or not a praying mantis will land on their heads? Don’t answer. I don’t want to know. Maybe if the film had a sci-fi edge or a more fantastic world they lived in (not backwater Spain – who even knew there was a backwater Spain?) I could’ve suspended my disbelief a little better.

I’d actually be interested to talk to someone else about what they thought of it. I get the feeling Intacto could be quite divisive. I am not a gambler in general but it’s interesting to think that people so rich and so bored could become so addicted to dumb and dangerous gambling. Who knew? Not me.


The Secret of Kells


This one is an animated movie for kids but so lovely that we can count it for adults too. If you know anything about the Book of Kells then you will be expecting a lot from the animation in this movie and you will not be disappointed!

The Secret of Kells is a delicious period piece that is so beautifully animated it’s like taking a stroll through a Celtic art gallery. The characters themselves look like classic 70s animation with quite basic blocky figures. The beauty of this film is in the scenery. Just like the Book of Kells it is the illuminations around the words where the wonder is found.

The Secret of Kells tells the story of the Book and its production during a time of Viking incursions into Ireland that strike immense fear into the Irish. This is a factual historical reference with Vikings marauding along the Irish coast during medieval times and the Book being dated to this period.

The Vikings are animated as monsters from nightmare and are not characters in the usual sense. They are a hoard of warriors that only mutter ‘gold,gold,gold’. They don’t care about art just gold. It is clearly very one-sided but as the story is told through the eyes of an Irish child it is quite clever.

There is a love of nature in the film which ties in beautifully with the Book again. The well known Celtic tree of life design is visible in the gorgeous trees of the forest outside the monastery. The forest itself is a mysterious and wonderful character in the film.

Kells tree

And one of the main characters is a cat. As a crazy cat lady in training (need a few more cats to claim the title), I love a cat as a character. I liked this little Disney touch and it worked well into the fairy tale nature of the movie, with animals, both wild and tame, being intertwined with the character of the forest.

Basically this movie won’t teach you anything (unless you don’t know the Book of Kells) but it will amaze you with the quality of animation and the joy at its heart in finding truth and love in the simple things.

It is a bit gruesome in parts with the Vikings marauding through villages. This is as realistic as you would want it to be in a kids film and the littlies might actually be frightened. It’s a bit slow in the start (for a while I wondered if I’d make it through – luckily comfortable couch force led me to remain in place) and the story is slow going in itself but the animation and beauty of the film had me hooked.