Eye For Film >> Movies >> Bombon: El Perro (2004) Film Review
In the dry, dusty deserts of South America, Patagonian mechanic Juan is down on his luck. He's out of a job, out of a home, out of money and at the age of 52 his prospects aren't looking too hopeful. If only this film was set in India instead of Argentina he could have found a nice easy job in a call centre and everything would have worked out fine. Without that option, Juan (also known as Coco) struggles to support himself by carving knife handles that nobody wants and is an unwelcome guest in his already fraught daughter's home.
Despite this rather bleak existence, Juan stays optimistic. He may have the kind of eyes that always look one more rejection away from a complete nervous breakdown, but his innate goodness and generosity lead him into a new life.
His salvation comes from an unlikely source. A random act of kindness is rewarded with a new pet - Bombon, the ugliest dog in the world. Handsome is as handsome does, though, and Bombon is a Dogo Argentino of impeccable pedigree.
In the movies, animals are often used as a catalyst for character development (see all films featuring orphans with pets), but this dog changes Juan's life in a more practical sense. Before long he's making new friends, travelling the country in his pickup and, with the help of the exuberant Walter, embarking upon a new career as an exhibitor in the glamorous world of provincial dog shows. There's even a hint of romance on the horizon. For an illiterate, unqualified ex-mechanic, this is a dream come true, but even dreams don't run smoothly.
El Perro paints a touching and humorous portrait of a lonely middle-aged man, who expects little from life, but hasn't given up hope. It's a quietly elegant film, with a meandering pace to reflect the setting. Writer/director Carlos Sorin has an eloquent grasp of visual language and elicits perfectly understated performances from his cast - Gregorio is especially good as Bombon, although he could have done with a bit of make-up on those lashless red-rimmed eyes. And maybe a toothbrush.
At times, it's all a little slow, but then so is Juan.Reviewed on: 17 Jun 2005
If you like this, try:My Life As A Dog