Ants In The Mouth

Ants In The Mouth


Reviewed by: Chris

There are relatively few movies set in the pre-Castro period of Cuba's history, and I eagerly looked forward to this offering. It starts briefly in Barcelona in 1958 as political activist Martin Losada is released from jail and gets a ship to Havana. We see a bustling city with the distinctive limos of the period. Beneath the apparent luxury we glimpse beatings and arbitrary arrests (the U.S.-backed, exceedingly corrupt Batista movement is still in power). Martin is looking for his girlfriend Julia, but is soon informed by her uncle that she is dead. A large sum of money she brought with her has also vanished.

Working his way through connections, Martin meets a woman whose husband has been murdered by local senator Freddy Navarro. She wants him to kidnap the senator and shows him a piece of paper she has on which is written: "You will awake with ants in your mouth." The kidnap goes wrong and Martin is taken prisoner. The story is slowly pieced together through flashbacks and revelations and we discover things are not as they seem.

Copy picture

'Ants in the Mouth' has some nice atmospheric photography but is simply much of a muchness all the way through. The acting and other elements conform to the film noir approach but tend to be overly bland and fail to rise to a level which will maintain interest for the ninety five minutes that it takes for Martin to solve the mystery and decide what to do about it. The title is slang for coming to a bad end, but this movie never rises above a mediocre middle long enough for us to care.

Reviewed on: 07 Sep 2006
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A thriller set in Cuba under the Batista regime.
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Director: Mariano Barroso

Writer: Mariano Barroso, Alejandro Hernandez, Tom Abrans

Starring: Eduard Fernández, Ariadna Gil, Jorge Perugorría, José Luis Gómez, Samuel Claxton

Year: 2004

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: Spain


EIFF 2006

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