×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Body

Like the forensic lab in which it's set, Oriol Paulo's debut, "The Body," is darkly fascinating, full of secrets and highly polished, if also a little too clinical for comfort.

With:
With: Jose Coronado, Belen Rueda, Hugo Silva, Aura Garrido, Juan Pablo Shuk, Cristina Plazas, Oriol Vila, Patricia Bargallo, Manel Dueso.

Like the forensic lab in which it’s set, Oriol Paulo’s debut, “The Body,” is darkly fascinating, full of secrets and highly polished, if also a little too clinical for comfort. Bringing together a number of contempo thriller tropes, this compact and highly efficient howdunit about the disappearance of a corpse from said lab reps the kind of breathless, relentless genre fare whose sole aim is to generate suspense, and it pretty much succeeds. International presales have been understandably brisk for this year’s Sitges fest opener.

Multiple flashbacks notwithstanding, the pic unfolds over a single night, creating the intensely compelling feeling that events are playing out in real time. After a security guard (Manel Dueso) flees the lab in terror, only to be hit by a passing car, it’s discovered that the body of heiress and businesswoman Mayka Villaverde (Belen Rueda) has gone missing. Det. Jaime Pena (Jose Coronado, his hair flattened in stark contrast to the unruly mop he displayed in his last troubled-cop role, in “No Rest for the Wicked”) is brought in, and after a breathless 15 minutes, it’s pretty much established that Mayka’s killer is her husband, Alex Ulloa (Hugo Silva), who’s been having an affair with Carla Miller (Aura Garrido).

Pena, who has pretty bad anger-management issues, immediately suspects Alex and methodically sets about interrogating him in some tense, across-the-table scenes whose impact is diminished by the helmer’s insistence on keeping the camera moving. Most of the ensuing action takes place in the lab, with Ulloa moving around in semi-darkness and stumbling on several eerie coincidences that suggest that “The Body” will take a paranormal turn. Thankfully, it does not, and remains just this side of credible on its way to the big final revelation and a beautifully daring last snippet of dialogue.

The regular flashbacks supply a welcome respite from the lab setting and flesh out the details of Mayka’s relationship with Alex, who ran the pharmaceuticals company she owned. Plot points continue to pile up in a way that’s satisfying enough while the pic is playing, but they don’t stand up to much scrutiny on post-viewing reflection.

The four central thesps are all fine, striking the necessary sparks and helping to conceal the fact that their characters are cardboard, constructed only to fit into the pic’s intricate jigsaw puzzle. Coronado turns the simmering Pena into the film’s most threatening presence, while the always watchable Rueda (best known offshore for “The Orphanage”) turns Mayka’s callous manipulations of Alex into an echo of the daring games the story plays with the audience.

Oscar Faura’s lensing stresses the slick and shiny, whether exploring the dark shadows of the lab, Mayka and Alex’s sumptuous home or the illuminated streets of the could-be-anywhere city where the film is set. The continuous thunderstorm outside serves little dramatic purpose, but at least ensures that everything looks suitably wet and lovely.

The Body

Spain

Production: A Sony Pictures Releasing release of a Rodar y Rodar, Antena 3 production with the participation of TV3, Canal Plus. (International sales: DeAPlaneta, Barcelona.) Produced by Joaquin Padro, Mar Targarona, Mercedes Gamero, Mikel Lejarza. Directed by Oriol Paulo. Screenplay, Paulo, Lara Sendim.

Crew: Camera (color), Oscar Faura; editor, Joan Manel Vilaseca; music, Sergio Moure; production designer, Balter Gallart; set decorator, Nuria Muni; costume designer, Maria Reyes; sound (Dolby Digital), Oriol Tarrago; visual effects supervisor, Berta Coderch; casting, Andres Cuenca, Tonucha Vidal. Reviewed at Sony screening room, Madrid, Sept. 20, 2012. (In Sitges Film Festival -- opener.) Running time: 115 MIN.

Cast: With: Jose Coronado, Belen Rueda, Hugo Silva, Aura Garrido, Juan Pablo Shuk, Cristina Plazas, Oriol Vila, Patricia Bargallo, Manel Dueso.

More Scene

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Tina KnowlesSoul of Nation: Art in

    Jay-Z, Tina Knowles Celebrate New 'Soul of a Nation' Exhibit at Broad Museum

    “This show is so important. I mean, it’s our history — and it’s a very important part of our journey,” Tina Knowles Lawson said about Friday night’s opening of the exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963 – 1983” at the Broad Museum in DTLA. “I’m just so impressed [...]

  • Jordan Peele'Us' film premiere, Arrivals, New

    Jordan Peele Explains the Meaning Behind the 'Us' Michael Jackson Reference

    Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” is filled with pop culture references, from “Jaws” to “Goonies.” But the most divisive might be right in his opening sequence. Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The movie about a couple (played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their children being hunted and brutalized by a mysterious family that looks just [...]

  • Danielle Brooks'Ain't Too Proud - The

    How 'Orange Is the New Black' Star Danielle Brooks Became a Broadway Producer

    Danielle Brooks earned a Tony nomination when she made her Broadway debut as Sofia in the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple,” but now the “Orange Is the New Black” star is working behind the scenes as a producer on the new jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” “I [...]

  • Nick Offerman Amy Poehler

    'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talks Possibility of a Revival at 10th Anniversary Reunion

    For one night, Hollywood felt a little like Pawnee. The cast of NBC’s hit comedy “Parks and Recreation” reunited at PaleyFest on Thursday in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary. The whole Pawnee gang showed up: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Retta, and Jim [...]

  • Andy CohenThe Shops and Restaurants at

    Andy Cohen to Receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

    Mazel, Andy Cohen! Bravo’s late-night talk show host is set to receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 4 in New York City. More Reviews West End Review: 'Emilia' Film Review: Tim Burton's 'Dumbo' Sarah Jessica Parker will present him with the award, which is named in honor [...]

  • Variety TV Summit Europe

    Variety TV Summit Europe Coming to London on June 13

    Variety’s TV Summit Europe will coincide with London Tech Week this year, returning to the city on June 13. The international conference will be held at the Royal Lancaster and is co-produced by global events company Informa’s KNect365 division, the world’s largest business-to-business organizer. The one-day summit will focus on the intersection of content and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content