Macabro 2013 Review: HERMANOS DE SANGRE (BLOOD BROTHERS), A Likeable Dark Comedy About Friendship
The Argentinean movie Hermanos de Sangre (Blood Brothers) quickly lands in familiar territory. Once we identify the kind of film this is, there aren't many surprises left. The story is very predictable indeed, but director Daniel de la Vega focuses on the tone to create a really fun and entertaining dark comedy. And for the most part, Blood Brothers is funny, even when many of its jokes come from situations that aren't exactly something we haven't seen before.
The protagonist of the film is Matías (Alejandro Parrilla), a really kind, nerdy dude who is overweight. Think of him as the sort-of Argentinean version of Nick Frost, though the resemblance is mostly just physical, as Matías is not entirely a hilarious character. From the beginning of the film we see him suffering from bullies, nightclub bouncers and, of course, women. He's secretly in love with a co-worker (Natalia D'Alena), while she's giving her attention to a real jerk. You know this common premise, right?
However, we don't realize where Daniel de la Vega wants to take us until another character appears. I'm talking about Nicolás (Sergio Boris, looking a bit like Robert Downey Jr.), a confident man who's ready to help whenever a sexy woman or a bully gives Matías a hard time. For some moments, Blood Brothers seems to be a thriller, with this mysterious guy taking control over the protagonist's life. But if you guess every move in a serious thriller, what's the point then? De la Vega is aware of this, so he goes for the non-serious approach.
Ultimately, Blood Brothers laughs at the idea of becoming a psychological thriller or a satisfying love story, where the geek gets the girl. It is not David Fincher's Fight Club, even if at one point the protagonist concludes he's living something similar to that of Edward Norton's character! With moments like this one, the movie is much closer to a parody than to something complex or shocking.
The secondary characters are mostly just straight cartoons. We have the aforementioned jerk with his exaggerated laughter, as well as two women related to Matías: his whacky ex-girlfriend and his old aunt. There's some Mexican influence with the appearance of a lucha libre (wrestling) aficionado and, I suppose, on Matías' aunt. A man (Carlos Perciavale) plays the aunt, reminding of the work of the Mexican comedic team Los Polivoces.
It's certainly an over-the-top thing, with some misfires. Yet the main theme (true friendship) and the tone reign over everything else, including annoying characters and unpolished death scenes. Blood Brothers delivers pure black humor, and it turns to be quite enjoyable as a whole. And that's mostly thanks to the charismatic Sergio Boris. He plays the classic psychopath (Nicolás) who's fun and not always insensitive (especially when watching Godzilla!), and helps create one likeable, and bloody, buddy movie.
Note: Macabro 2013 screens Blood Brothers again on Sunday, September 1 (6 PM at Centro Cultural Carranza).
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