"Aurora Boreal" is unsubtle, half-baked fare short of a couple major rewrites.

An 80-minute videotaped suicide note by a 14-year-old boy should be rich in dramatic content, but Sergio Tovar Velarde’s eager-to-please debut “Aurora Boreal” can’t cash in on protag’s emotions, as it’s clear from the start he won’t go through with it. Though well-intentioned, pic is unsubtle, half-baked fare short of a couple major rewrites: Although aiming for sincerity, pic actually is manipulative, with dramatic tedium the result. Youth-themed fests might want to take a look.

The script fails to establish the necessary perspective on the protag to bring him to life. For quite plausible reasons involving his younger brother, tortured adolescent Mariano (Jose Luis Martinez), who never really shows any feelings, decides to end his life. However, rather than just doing it, he makes a video diary, much of which involves asking people what’s stopping them from killing themselves: Their answers would only interest 14-year-olds. A subplot has Mariano’s drug-dealer friend being shot over a debt, raises the awkward question of why Mariano doesn’t sell his camera to get the money to save his friend.

Aurora Boreal

Mexico

Production

An Astronauta Films production. (International sales: Astronauta Films, Mexico.) Produced by Edgar Barron.  Directed, written, edited by Sergio Tovar Velarde.

Crew

Camera (color), Ricardo Benet; music, Enrique Espinosa. Reviewed at San Sebastian Film Festival (Horizontes Latinos), Sept. 28, 2007. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Jose Luis Martinez, Renato Bartilotti.

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