Martín Blousson and Macarena García Lenzi (director)
23 August 2019 (released)
23 August 2019
This psychological thriller from writers and directors Martín Blousson and Macarena García Lenzi is one to ponder and savour. It is the story of a brother, sister Jesus (Pablo Sigal) and Maria-Jose (Valeria Giorcelli) living a vaguely juvenile happy life together with their games and TV in Buenos Aires. It’s interrupted when Magdalena (Agustina Cerviño) their half-sister on their father’s side arrives from Spain because of his death.
She is an intruding force into their comfortable idyll as Magdalena starts to look into the legal affairs of her father and finds there’s no money, but they have a big house! She falls (pushed?) and ends up bed ridden, fed like a child. There’s a vague allusion to Baby Jane as she is so dependent on Maria-Jose whose behaviour becomes more erratic with bible readings, and her obsession with the Wizard of Oz. Jesus meanwhile gives the impression of a weak lost man, shoved and out of place, left to his own things and the film her is making.
Nothing is explicit with periods of well-judged silence as Magdalena recovers physically. As she gets stronger and her mind clears, it’s then that the games begin as the three begin to manipulate each other. It’s intricate and macabre as various close quarter scenarios play out (the film is virtually confined to the house). Unlike the game of the title, there’s some subtlety but the results aren't.
There’s little in the way of violence but this is about suspense and mood which is consistently downbeat and twistedly comic. The grungy setting and off-kilter soundtrack are effective foils for the splendid cast.