REVIEW: AMIGO

  • Director: Óscar Martín
  • Writer: Óscar Martín, Javier Botet, David Pareja
  • Stars: Javier Botet, David Pareja, Esther Gimeno, Zoe Berriatúa

REVIEW

Being a full-time carer would be a tough gig. A lot of people do it for family and some friends will do it too. This is where Amigo comes in. Injured through a tragic accident, Javi (Botet) needs fulltime care. His good friend David (Pareja) has stepped up to the plate to look after him. Moving to a rural property to change it up from being in the hospital, David tries to help Javi do his everyday routine, bathing, feeding and the like. David organises therapy for Javi to regain movement and lung capacity and even hires a sex worker for Javi. However, as the time passes, things begin to bubble up to the surface between these two friends and threaten to boil over in the worst ways…

Botet and Pareja are excellent together (no surprise being that they’ve starred in a number of comedy sketches together). Botet playing a largely mute and strangely physical role, I say strangely because despite using his Marfan syndrome to great physical effect in previous films (REC, IT) in this role he can barely move but just seems to make use of his physicality, thin frail body and his long limbs all the while conveying a man in physical and mental anguish. Pareja is of course the more robust of the two and is as expected the more cheerful one, early on it feels like he is carrying Javi’s emotions with him, being overly positive to combat the depressing pall surrounding Javi. The more time they spend together the more the cheerful nature is chipped away, and we get more and more information about these two.

Óscar Martín does really well to make the confines of the house become smaller and smaller as Javi and David start to have a mutual meltdown. Martin makes the feeding scenes really uncomfortable and in some ways the bathing scenes are far more palatable than watching a man feed his friend who doesn’t want to eat. As David starts hallucinating that Javi is actually walking around the house and becomes more unhinged by the day, Martin sits you front and centre to watch it. Cinematographer Alberto Morago does any excellent job of creating a really colour muted scheme, the blacks are true black and somehow, he uses the shadows as the main canvas with any light used as a spotlight of sorts for the characters.

Amigo starts off like a very bittersweet view on friendship. The more you watch the more you can see the rising resentment (I won’t spoil any of those reasons here), it’s a perfectly paced film and when we get to the climax, it’s thoroughly upsetting. It’s gallows humour to the extreme before it turns completely horrific. Recalling psychological horror films like What Ever Happened To Baby Jane with more than a hint of voyeurism, Amigo has great performances, direction and if psychological horror is what you like, then Amigo will be a treat for you.

Amigo will be in North American cinemas on Dec 2.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith | Twitter: @TigersMS78

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