Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ricardo Darín, Dolores Fonzi, Pablo Cedrón, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Jorge D'Elía, Alejandro Awada, Rafael Castejón, Manuel Rodal, Walter Reyno
Written by: Fabián Bielinsky
Directed by: Fabián Bielinsky
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time: 134
Date: 09/15/2005

The Aura (2006)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Deep in the Woods

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The Argentinean director Fabián Bielinsky died of a heart attack at age 47, just after completing this, his second feature. Judging from it and his feature debut, Nine Queens (2002), he might have had an impressive career in front of him. In The Aura, the chipmunk-faced Ricardo Darín (also in Nine Queens as well as the Oscar-nominated Son of the Bride) stars as an epileptic taxidermist (never heard that one before) with an active imagination. Though he remains a passive bystander, he likes to imagine robberies and other well-planned and executed scams. When a friend coaxes him into a hunting trip, he finds his fantasy world springing to life. He accidentally shoots another hunter deep in the woods, and discovers that the dead man was planning a complex robbery. He tries his best to learn all the details and integrate himself into the plan. As with Nine Queens, Bielinsky does a remarkable job of both revealing and withholding information, so that, even after 134 minutes, the film never drags. Even more interesting is the fact that he swaps the talk-heavy dialogue from his first film (often compared to Mamet) for a quieter, more visually austere, experience. The film opens today in San Francisco at the Roxie Cinema.

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