Bullet In The Head

Bullet In The Head


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Watching Jaime Rosales’ latest film I’m struck by a dreadful sense of déjà vu. Can it really be a year since I was sitting in virtually the same seat at a New York Film Festival press screening watching a film with virtually no dialogue and virtually falling asleep? Last year it was the doldrums of In The City Of Sylvia that were acting like the cinematic equivalent of Nytol but the same arguments apply.

What would have made an entertaining, if experimental, 20-minute short film has here been extended beyond sanity – or at least beyond the endurance level of most critics (I swear I could hear intermittent face-slapping noises as one by one the assembled hacks attempted to keep themselves awake).

Copy picture

Lying at the heart of the film – and this is tricky to describe without giving away the one piece of dramatic tension it contains – is the story of an average man who will go on to do a decidedly un-average and unpleasant thing in the name of a political cause. Even though it is almost impossible to spoil a film that has already been so comprehensively ruined by a director, I’ll say no more, except to advise you look at the title, it’ll give you the gist. We see Mr Average playing with his kid, drinking coffee, hanging out with pals and his squeeze. We don’t get to hear what he’s saying, though, we’re paparazzi or a surveillance team, only there to observe at long distance and imagine the excitement Mr A must feel at, er, enjoying a cup of java with a friend or getting his rocks off. Instead of any sort of dialogue, we’re treated to the sounds of the street – traffic noise, chatter and the like.

Anyone who has ever watched The Godfather is well aware that bad men are rarely completely devoid of redeeming features and that they tend to have families, too, so none of this ponderous exposition holds any sort of revelation. Worryingly, in the director’s notes, Rosales says: “I am not totally sure of what the film is about or what it is trying to tell. Maybe in some time to come, if I look at it from the distance, I will start to see what it is about.” Well, if you’re not sure, then no wonder the rest of us are struggling.

My best guess is that, presumably, as an audience we’re supposed to fill in the gaps and ruminate on what would drive a person to do the things Mr A does. On the strength of what we’re shown, one could argue he does it just to relieve the boredom of his daily grind. After sitting through this film you may well feel murderous, too.

Reviewed on: 09 Oct 2008
Share this with others on...
Avant-garde thriller invites audience to piece together the narrative.

Director: Jaime Rosales

Writer: Jaime Rosales

Starring: Mikel Tello, Ion Arretxe, Iñigo Royo, Diego Gutiérrez, Manza Gebara, Ana Vila, Nerea Cobreros, Monique Durin-Noury, Gilles Vaxelaire, Iván Moreno, José Ángel Lopetegui

Year: 2008

Runtime: 85 minutes

Country: Spain

Search database: