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Four people are connected by fate, and discover that luck is something they cannot afford to be without. Tomas (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is a young thief and sole survivor of a horrific plane crash; Federico (Eusebio Poncela) has survived an earthquake and discovered he has the power to rob those around him of their good fortune; Sam (Max von Sydow) is the ultimate survivor, who lost everything but his life in a Nazi concentration camp; Sara (Monica Lopez) is a policewoman who walked away from a car crash that killed her family.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There's not a boring second and not a wasted shot throughout Intacto, starting with its opening image of a neon lit casino, a single complex nestling in the foothills of a dramatic mountainous landscape. The shot makes physical some of the eerie and intangible notions that drive the film's premise: luck as a force that inhabits some people. And these 'some people' can pass it on through physical contact, like a big hug.

OK, this sounds a trifle thin for a two hour movie, and it is, but the sheer cinematic style of Juan Carlos Fresnadillo manages to make it entertaining and engaging, if not quite overwhelming. Excellent work from DoP Xavi Giménez gives the film a truly gritty yet ethereal tone, the production design by César Macarrón gives the film a solid reality that contrasts with its subject matter and so heightens the impact, and Lucio Godoy's score is creative and sensitive.

The splendid cast make the material feel weightier and more credible than perhaps it deserves, although to be honest I am a great fan of fantasy as a source of cinematic subjects. There are great opportunities to canvass the whole range of the human condition, and Fresnadillo takes a few of them. But his main strength is in developing his idea in sufficient detail to set up some extraordinary games of chance that test the theory of his proposition.

Like the game played by three in a darkened room, when (like in all the games) the stakes are greater even than money (you'll have to find out for yourself or it'll spoil the film) and the winner is the one on whose head a spectacularly unusual flying insect finally lands. Most of the other games are more violent, though, and the film relies on that for its tension. In the end the concept struggles to maintain its power for the duration of the film, but it's a fascinating work.

Published June 3, 2004

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CAST: Leonardo Sbaraglia, Eusebio Poncela, Mónica López, Antonio Dechent, Max von Sydow, Guillermo Toledo

DIRECTOR: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

SCRIPT: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Andrés M. Koppel

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes




DVD RELEASE: May 5, 2004

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