Born And Bred

Born And Bred


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Put all thoughts of the James Bolam BBC Drama of the same name from your mind, this isn't the big screen spin-off. Rather it is the latest from naturalistic director Pablo Trapero, who turns his attentions to the downfall of one man and yet, curiously, despite all the realism, manages to keep the audience at arm's length.

When we first meet Santi (Guillermo Pfening), he is planning big things with his wife Milli (Martina Gussman) and their perfect family. Everything is so domestically ordered and normal that tragedy can only be minutes way, yet even though you've seen this sort of thing 1000 times before it doesn't make it any less horrific when 'it' finally happens.

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Although the initial scenes carry you along, once you enter the post-tragedy world - which sees Santi transported to the Patagonian wastes, where he works and drinks and generally mooches about - the film, like its central protagonist, seems to lose its way.

There's nothing wrong with the cinematography, indeed, some of the bleak, landscape shots are the best thing about the film. But just as the constantly falling snow leaches the colour from the backdrop, so the emotion bleeds out of the film. Santi's life is largely episode free, save for occasional bust-ups with his buddies, tears and tantrums, and the scripting is so sparse it's hard to get a handle on him. So much so, that, in fact, it is the personal trials of his colleague Cacique (Tomas Lipman), which are the more emotionally charged.

Trapero and his co-writer Maria Rulloni cap it all off with a irritating final third. Clearly intended to provide the audience with some sort of climactic revelation and inspire the tear ducts, it is actually more confusing than illuminating and undermines further what has gone before. For a film which revels in realism, events ultimately feel too contrived for comfort.

Reviewed on: 15 Jul 2007
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Born And Bred packshot
A man's life falls apart after a tragic accident.
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Director: Pablo Trapero

Writer: Mario Rulloni, Pablo Trapero

Starring: Guillermo Pfening, Federico Esquerro, Martina Gusman, Tomás Lipan, Victoria Vescio

Year: 2006

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: Argentina, Italy, UK

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