It's not often we recommend you don't read reviews of a movie before you see it, but that's the case with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's superior Spanish thriller. Get into the cinema without knowing a single thing about Intacto and we guarantee you'll be scratching several layers of skin off your bonce, as debut writer/director Fresnadillo delivers both a blinding - - and pleasingly puzzling - - set-up.
Still here? Oh well, here we go then... Petty criminal Tomás (Leonardo Sbaraglia) is rushed to hospital after waking up in the smoking wreckage of a passenger jet. Not only is he the sole survivor of the crash (at odds of 237 million to one), he also has a large amount of dosh taped to his belly. The cops are suspicious, so Tomás thinks it's his lucky day when insurance investigator Federico (Eusebio Poncela) offers him a way out. Only there's a catch. In exchange, Federico wants Tomás to wear a blindfold, put syrup in his hair and sit in a room with three strangers, while a weird insect buzzes around their heads. Huh?
That's only the beginning of Fresnadillo's mind-warping, inventive thriller about a group of gamblers who maintain that good fortune isn't an abstract concept but a real power. Drawn into this dark underworld, Tomás starts playing some bizarre games of chance - the best of which involves a mad, blindfolded dash through a forest - before realising that he can actually steal luck from those around him... With disastrous consequences.
With its weird betting games and teasing, convoluted set-up, Intacto is a ballsy first feature. It's a little slow in places and, truth be told, there's probably less here than meets the eye, but that's a small price to pay when you're dealing with something this technically assured, this original.
One of the strangest movies you'll see this year? You bet.
Audacious, enigmatic, astounding - Intacto chews up adjectives like a rabid Doberman. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo is definitely a filmmaker to watch out for in the future.