Celebrated scribbler of twisty, tortured tales Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros,
Veterans of Arriaga’s wait-and-see plotting will sit happily through a two-time-frame shuffle which slowly but resonantly runs together both the love affair and the joint obsession with the fatal infidelity that the lovers’ respective teenagers Mariana and Santiago cook up. And Charlize Theron’s fabulous, dead-eyed performance as Sylvia, the
It’s hard not to pine for Arriaga’s longtime collaborator Alejandro González Iñárritu’s breakneck pacing and startling visuals. Arriago’s direction feels too stripped down, too enslaved by the stories it’s plaiting deftly, but draggily. Sure, he’s still maestro of the multiple storylines/one big reveal genre. But he makes the rookie mistake of hammering his theme of redemptive love into the film like a tent peg. To get a movie blazing, it takes more than a handful of hot performances and a burning bed.
Moody, meandering and melodramatic, this slow-paced, well-played and over-stuffed movie promises rather more than it delivers. Even an emotionally (and literally) naked Charlize Theron and a bed-hopping Kim Basinger, can’t get this steak to sizzle.