An enjoyable but soapy take on life in Chile’s underbelly, Nicolas Acuna’s sophomore feature “Paradise B” is a mainstream thrills and romance vehicle which rolls along rapidly without ever changing gear. Pic has opened solidly at home but has limited crossover appeal outside Latin-American territories.
Leo (Juan Pablo Ogalde) and Pedro (Fernando Gomez-Rovira) are boyhood buddies in a humble barrio of Santiago who now work in a gambling business run by a local mobster (Nelson Villagra). When Pedro’s mother dies, his sister, Gloria (Leonor Varela), who is also Leo’s ex-g.f., returns after seven years in Miami. Gambling with his boss’s money, Pedro wins a fortune on the horses and celebrates by getting drunk and trying to kiss his sister — a rare hint of genuine darkness in a too-safe script. Gloria implausibly runs to Leo, and their relationship briefly re-ignites. Perfs from the sexy and generally talented young cast, all sleeveless T-shirts and sweat, are energetic but exaggerated. D.p. David Bravo does a decent job in concealing a limited budget withflashy visuals.