Once again a superb movie by Fabián Bielinsky, and although very much different from his earlier creation, Nine Queens, has his unmistakable touch. Bielinsky has a talent for psychological thrillers and his ability to create suspense literally out of nowhere and out of the most common of situations is what makes the movie so watchable.
In only his second movie, Bielinsky has shown why he’s a talent to watch out for. With more twists in the tale than a corkscrew, The Aura (El Aura) is unpredictable from start to finish. And even at the end, when you think that the director has shot his bolt, you’re in for the biggest surprise of your life.
One of the best movies to ever come out of Argentina which has been producing some really good movies lately.
The plot in The Aura is a very simple one. The movie is about an obsessive taxidermist, Esteban Espinosa, played by Ricardo Darin who feels that “the perfect” crime is never committed because the crooks are just plain stupid, and that the police would never be able to identify such a perfect crime because they too are plain stupid. Esteban spends his spare time planning “The perfect” crime, one that will never be identified by the police.
And then things take a turn when his wife leaves him and in a fit of passion, he goes on a hunting trip. His first time in the forest, and he shoots a man who turns out to be a real criminal, one who already has a plan to rob money being transported from a casino in an armored vehicle.
Once again there’s a turn and Esteban is given the opportunity of testing his theories of his perfect crimes. His inexperience however lands him in the soup many times, all complicated by his epileptic condition that comes on whenever he is under stress.
And like all great psychological thrillers, the movie has more twists than you can imagine, and although it seems a little slow in the beginning, you begin to appreciate the skill of the director in building up the characters of the main cast at the fag end of the movie.
And even in the end there’s twists galore, till you end up not expecting and just following where the director leads.
A truly amazing movie that has won 11 awards and 7 nominations the world over.
- Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards: Silver Condor: Best Actor:Ricardo Darin; Best Cinematography: Checco Varese; Best Director: Fabián Bielinsky; Best Film: Fabián Bielinsky; Best Screenplay: Fabián Bielinsky; Best Sound: Carlos Abbate, Jose Luis Diaz; Best Art Direction: Mercedes Alfonsin; Best Editing: Alejandro Carrillo Penovi, Fernando Pardos; Best Sound: Carlos Abbate, Jose Luis Diaz.
- Cartagena Film Festival: Golden India Catalina: Best Director: Fabián Bielinsky.
- Clarin Entertainment Awards: Clarin Award: Best Actor: Ricardo Darin, Best Cinematography: Checco Varese.
- Havana Film Festival: FIPRESCI Prize: Best Film: Fabián Bielinsky.
- Premios ACE: Premio ACE: Best Actor: Ricardo Darin.
Directed By: Fabián Bielinsky
Produced By: Ariel Saul, Augusto Greco, Cecilia Bossi, Diego Conejero, Gerardo Herrero.
Written By: Fabián Bielinsky
Cast: Ricardo Darin, Manuel Rodal, Dolores Fonzi, Pablo Cedron, Nahuel Perez Biscayart
Music By: Lucio Godoy
Cinematography: Checco Varese
Editing: Alejandro Carrillo Penovi, Fernando Pardo
Release Date: Sep 15, 2005
Running Time: 134 min
The Aura will go down in history as a great film with a tragic loss attached to it. This totally original and deeply involving thriller was the second and final feature film by Fabián Bielinsky, a gifted Argentinian writer-director whose debut feature, Nine Queens earned global acclaim and introduced Bielinsky as a talent to watch. Sadly, Bielinsky died of a sudden heart attack in June 2006, at age 47, and we’ll never know what other great films he might have made. The Aura stands as testament to Bielinsky’s masterful skill, on full display in this riveting study of a sad and lonely taxidermist named Espinosa (played by Ricardo Darín, who was also in Nine Queens) who compensates for his disappointing life by imagining elaborate crimes that he’s planned to perfection. When a hunting accident results in the death of a criminal mastermind who’d been planning a casino heist, the taxidermist (who possesses a photographic memory and suffers from occasional blackouts caused by epileptic seizures) assumes the dead man’s role, improvising his way through the crime-plot with untrustworthy partners and the constant threat of danger. The film’s title refers to the semi-conscious fugue state that precedes the taxidermist’s epileptic seizures, inducing a sense of disorientation and dread that Bielinsky uses to deepen the film’s psychological impact. Darín’s dour, worried expression is a fascinating focal point for his character’s unpredictable journey into the heart of darkness, and The Aura‘s primary setting, in the thick forest of Patagonia, is a perfect complement to the film’s ominous atmosphere and deliberately paced intrigue. As far-fetched as it may seem at times, the plot’s heightened reality remains utterly convincing, and Bielinsky demonstrates an uncanny knack for escalating suspense in quietly intense situations. From start to finish, The Aura is clearly the work of a filmmaker with seemingly limitless potential, and we can only wonder about the excellent films Bielinsky would have made had he lived. Unfortunately, two slight DVD extras on The Aura give us no insight into Bielinsky’s too-short career: the “making of” featurette is very brief and consists primarily of an interview with Ricardo Darín, and the behind-the-scenes musical montage is an equally short and perfunctory assembly of production video set to the moody, electronic tones of Lucio Godoy’s subtly effective score
Amazon Customer’s review
Into the woods – By Ronald Scheer
Don’t be put off by the violence of the image on the DVD cover for this film by Argentine director Fabián Bielinsky. It represents one brief moment in an off-beat heist movie that is full of twists and turns that defy expectations. Focused as it is on the mental and emotional state of the lead character, played by Ricardo Darín, it takes a while to even come together around a heist. Withdrawn and hyper vigilant, he’s a detail obsessed taxidermist who goes hunting with an acquaintance in the woods and while in pursuit of a deer shoots a man instead. And thus begins an escapade full of deceit, danger, and increasingly high stakes, all complicated by the main character’s epileptic condition that produces seizures at inopportune moments.
Darín is just fine as the taxidermist hero, rarely giving us more than a single intense expression registering puzzlement, concentration, confusion, fear, or fascination with whatever he is observing. A robbery, which he watches from across the street, has the creepy verisimilitude of amateur news media footage, random gunshots fired by unseen shooters and figures running for cover. Meanwhile, scenes set in deep woods alternate with barren and desolate expanses crossed by hard-top roads leading to distant towns. As with Bielinsky’s previous feature “Nine Queens,” this film mixes genres that lead to interesting ambiguities and unexpected results. Recommended for fans of crime films with some psychological depth.The Aura,