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.

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.

Paradise B

Chile

Production

A Promocine, Nueva Imagen, Chilefims production. (International sales: Promocine, Santiago.) Executive producer, Fernando Acuna. Directed by Nicolas Acuna. Screenplay, Acuna, Luis Emilio Guzman, Daniel Pizarro.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W), David Bravo; editor, Andrea Chignoli; music, Pablo Avila; art director, Coco Hederra. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Open Zone), Sept. 25, 2002. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Leonor Varela, Juan Pablo Ogalde, Nelson Villagra, Fernando Gomez-Rovira.

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