Reviewed at Fort Lauderdale Film Festival, Nov. 7, 1999. Original title: Arde Amor. Running time: 90 MIN.
With: Rosana Pastor, Sergi Lopez, Chete Lera, Maria Bouzas, Miguel Pernas.
The Wheel of Fire” is a dramatic fizzle, plodding and predictable as it methodically rummages through the ramifications of an apparent double suicide. Although reasonably well-acted and handsomely produced, pic is a numbingly pretentious psychological drama that takes an unconscionably long time to belabor the obvious, and occasionally merits laughter for some overwrought and inadvertently funny dialogue. Don’t expect this “Wheel” to roll far beyond the fest circuit.
After two attractive young lovers are found fatally shot, their former sweethearts are drawn together to make sense of the tragedy. As Modia (Rosana Pastor) and Luis (Sergi Lopez) comb through the effects of the dearly departed, they find reason to believe that Rosa (Maria Bouzas) and Lucio (Miguel Pernas) decided to kill themselves to insure the immortality of their love. Or something like that. But as the survivors segue into their own romance, they are increasingly harassed by the vaguely menacing Ranxel (Chete Lera, from “Open Your Eyes”), a middle-aged friend of the deceased. By the time Ranxel discloses his true colors, the revelation comes as a surprise only to the folks onscreen.