Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

A man takes a header off a motorway bridge in Lima, Peru. It turns out his is the father of 21-year old Santiago (Jason Day). In an effort to make sense of things, Santiago decides to visit the beach resort town where he spent time as a child. Along for the ride are his step-sister, Ximena (Elsa Pataky) and her freshly-minted husband, Inigo (Enrique Murciano). Their destination is Mancora - a coastal fishing community some 18 hours out of Lima.

On the way, Inigo decides to leave the group in order to catch some waves. He is swiftly replaced with another in the shape of a free-spirited surfer dude Batu (Phellipe Haagensen). Our new trio continues onwards.

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In Mancora the fishermen go about their business and life is a simpler affair from an earlier time, apart from the discos… and the tourists… and all the drugs. Soon Inigo and his bottomless wallet returns to the group as Santiago becomes increasingly volatile.

Two Latin type guys. A Girl. A road Trip. A beach. Sexual tensions. It would be easy to say we're off on a Y Tu Mama Tambien trip - we could only hope. This is a completely different chaleira of peixes, however.

It is hard to have any empathy for this collection of 24-hour party people. Problems that only seem like problems to folk under the age of 25 and the hint of forbidden sexual fruit are not enough to hold the interest. The unfamiliar Peruvian backgrounds seem to hold more promise than the hedonistic lifestyles of our quartet, but the film is not interested in being a travelogue, Máncora – Gateway to Paradise.

The cast is superb, direction and cinematography terrific. The problem is a story that resists going anywhere despite the five writing credits, one of whom is Oscar Torres - responsible for the much more interesting look at El Salvador, Voces Inocente.

Here in Máncora, no new ground is broken, no insight gained into these pretty, vapid folk whose behavior could induce one to join the motorway bridge leaping brigade.

Reviewed on: 13 Jun 2008
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Grief and desire on a road trip.

Director: Ricardo De Montreuil

Writer: Angel Ibarguren, Juan Luis Nugent, based on a story by Diego Ojeda and Ricardo De Montreuil

Starring: Jason Day, Elsa Pataky, Enrique Murciano, Phellipe Haagensen, Liz Gallardo

Year: 2008

Runtime: 93 minutes

Country: Spain, Peru

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