The Colombian Dream

A deliriously exuberant take on that most stereotypically Colombian of themes -- drugs -- "The Colombian Dream" hurtles excitedly to nowhere in much the same way as its pill-driven young protags.

With:
With: Mateo Rudas, Santiago Rudas, Manuela Beltran, Miguel Canal, Javier Gardeazabal, Manuel Sarmiento, Julian Diaz, Gonzalo de Sagarminaga.

A deliriously exuberant take on that most stereotypically Colombian of themes — drugs — “The Colombian Dream” hurtles excitedly to nowhere in much the same way as its pill-driven young protags. Shuttling between the excellent and the awful without ever pausing to be merely dull, pic has an over-the-top shooting style that matches its subject perfectly and is underpinned by some sharp-eyed satire on the get-rich-quick mindset. However, this “Dream” fades with an hour still to run, and non-fest interest offshore looks limited. Film did play well on home turf, though.

Movie is narrated by the dead Lucho (Miguel Canal), who was actually aborted 14 years earlier. His mother, Lola, runs the bar that gives the pic its title and has twin nephews, Pepe (Mateo Rudas) and Enrique (Santiago Rudas), who are involved in a love triangle with Rosita (Manuela Beltran).

Seeing in drugs a way to make some easy money, the twins are caught stealing some by El Sagaz (Javier Gardeazabal), who then asks them to look after some boxes of pills. When El Sagaz overdoses and dies, the kids become the focus of a hunt by dyed-blonde savage John MacClane (Manuel Sarmiento) to recover the merchandise, with MacClane hiring street assassin Jesus Elvis (Julian Diaz).

Jesus Elvis, the most out-there character in a generally out-there cast, is a wannabe poet who is actually incapable of killing anyone. Mistaking the kids’ father, El Susy (Gonzalo de Sagarminaga), for one of the kids, MacClane kidnaps him before realizing his mistake and releasing him into the streets, full of drugs.

Enhancing the air of comicbook-like excess, helmer Felipe Aljure, a former d.p., employs exclusively eye-catching trickery, with much unnecessary use of closeup, split-screen and slow-motion. All this generates a nicely psychedelic feel, but more discretion would have been apt. Other scenes, such as a musical setpiece in a supermarket satirizing consumer values, are cliched.

Perfs are mostly fine, with a cast of young performers embracing their characters’ excesses while uttering streams of drug-fueled dialogue that are incomprehensible even to native Spanish speakers (and will further limit pic’s chances in Hispanic territories). Sound and music fall into line with the generally over-the-top air.

The Colombian Dream

Colombia

Production: A Cinempresa production. (International sales: Cinempresa, Girardot, Colombia.) Executive producer, Catalina Samper. Directed, written by Felipe Aljure.

Crew: Camera (color), Carlos Sanchez; editor, Hugo Pinto; music, Gonzalo de Sagarminaga, Camilo Montilla, Carlos Posada, Nicolas Uribe; art director, Yasmin Gutierrez; sound (Dolby Digital), Camilo Montilla, Matias Lorusso. Reviewed at Chimenea de Villaverde Latin American Film Festival, Madrid, June 26, 2008. Running time: 120 MIN.

With: With: Mateo Rudas, Santiago Rudas, Manuela Beltran, Miguel Canal, Javier Gardeazabal, Manuel Sarmiento, Julian Diaz, Gonzalo de Sagarminaga.

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