A Red Bear

A Red Bear


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

On his release from prison, the Bear has two goals: to re-establish relations with his ex-wife Natalia and their daughter Alicia and to collect money he is owed by gang boss Turco. But Natalia has married a loser with a gambling habit and Turco will only pay if the Bear agrees to do one last job...

This Argentinian film immediately signals its aim of combining crime thriller and domestic drama with flashbacks of the Bear leaving Alicia's birthday party and being caught by the cops following a ferocious shoot out.

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It's not a new idea - the 1940s Kiss Of Death had a similar storyline - but the quality of the filmmaking and high standard of performances, combined with the relative unfamiliarity of the setting, is enough to see A Red Bear through on its own merits.

Repeated images of the Bear framed behind barriers serve to emphasise the impassable distance between him and his family. As one character says, "Sometimes the best thing you can do for the ones you love is to stay away from them."

A juxtaposition of Alicia at a flag raising ceremony and her father on the job, cut to the triumphalist strains of the national anthem, ironically highlights the gap between the heroic ideals of the Argentina founders and the grubby realities of the country's present economic crisis.

Only the action sequences jar. They are well staged, but somtimes fall awkwardly between uncomfortable realism and Hollywood effectiveness. The Bear, played with low-key intensity by Julio Chavez , seems almost superhuman at times.

A Red Bear is an interesting genre hybrid that hits more than it misses. The filmmakers' attempt to stretch the boundaries of the crime actioner is to be applauded.

Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2002
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Ex-con tries to re-establish relations with his family and collect money due him.
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Director: Adrian Caetano

Writer: Adrian Caetano

Starring: Julio Chavez, Soledad Villamil, Luis Hachin, Agostina Lage, Rene Lavand, Enrqique Liporace, Daniel Valenzuela, Freddy Forbes, Ernesto Villegas

Year: 2002

Runtime: 94 minutes

Country: Argentina


EIFF 2002
Viva 2008

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If you like this, try:

Kiss Of Death