Director: Adrián García Bogliano
Writer: Adrián García Bogliano
Cast: Francisco Barreiro, Daniela Soto Vell, Jorge Molina, Milena Pezzi, Vita Vargas
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 24.9.2015
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard.]
Aram (Francisco Barreiro) is the perfect worker, a diligent not too ambitious lawyer who does his best at his job and works long hours without complaining. Or at least that’s what it looks like to his boss and his wife. Secretly, Aram is meticulously planning the kidnapping of a high school student (Daniela Soto Vell): he stalks her, he times how long it takes to choke somebody unconscious (with his dementia-suffering father as experimental object), plays with his son to find out about carrying bodies. He even visits (apparently regularly) a sex worker and asks her about tying people up. When he finally feels he has covered all his bases, he goes through with it – but to what end?
Scherzo Diabolico lives off Francisco Barreiro’s performance. But when Aram takes a back seat in the later half, the film falls apart both regarding tension and logic.
The first part is really great, where you slowly uncover the darkness behind Aram’s meek and sweet exterior. As you wonder what he’s playing at and how all his preparations will come together, the movie is quite intriguing. It’s works particularly well because Francisco Barreiro manages to be the convincing everyman everybody in the office likes and at the same time doesn’t make Aram’s psychopathic detachment cartoonish but keeps it understated.
But then things start to get weird when Aram finally goes through with his kidnapping. He leaves the terrified girl (I’m sorry, I forgot her name) tied in a warehouse and only visits her once a day. On one of those days, he tells her to take her clothes off and films her while she does so. Then he leaves. As he drives away, he has to stop the car and throw up, that’s how disgusted he is with the sexual assault. This begs the question why he thought the assault was necessary in the first place. Surely, her parents wouldn’t be more worried about her just because she got sexually assaulted as well as kidnapped?
Since the rape of the girl is constantly hinted at, starting with the questions about tying people up to the sex worker, but he then leaves it at a “simple” assault that doesn’t even make sense in the context of the story, it seems to be only there to titillate the audience with a naked school girl, especially the strip scene. And fuck you for that, film, fuck you.
But then the story changes. Aram releases the girl since he got what he wanted out of it: his boss lost his job (she was his daughter and him worrying about her made him incompetent enough that he got kicked out) and Aram got his place. He celebrates by fucking his secretary and generally living it up. In the meantime the girl struggles with PTSD. When she hears a particular song (a not exactly uncommon classical piece) that was playing during the kidnapping, she completely unravels and goes into a blind rage, killing everyone around her and hunting for Aram to take her revenge.
And even when we don’t think about the fact that that’s not how PTSD or triggers work, or that the girl must have secret superpowers to pull off what she pulls off, it victimizes the girl again: she can’t help herself, she becomes a victim of her own rage and her first act is to kill her parents who had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Neither had the other victims she chooses before (and after) she gets to Aram. She becomes a slave yet again, only not to a weird guy in a Día de los Muertos mask, but to the involuntarily triggered and imposed thirst for revenge. That’s not how I like my revenge stories.
Bogliano still has a knack for hot sex scenes featuring Francisco Barreiro (who should not be so sexy what with his babyface and mustache). But his misogynistic, sexist tendencies have ruined yet another film. Maybe he should do porn films (where other people write the scripts).