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Film Three Stars
Máncora began beautifully, poetically and violently with a few great looking and sounding opening scenes. It's a film that has some strong and great looking leads, complex relationships, and some very real world views.

This Spanish film has a few surprises, particularly with the appearance of Enrique Murciano from Without a Trace as one of the lead characters. However it has a lot more to offer than that.

Plot.pngMancora.jpgThe story follows Santi, or Santiago, played by Jason Day. We first meet him in a nightclub having sex with his girlfriend in the toilets while he ignores his absentee father's calls. Finally his father leaves an emotional and apologetic message on his answering machine just before he kills himself.

This pushes Santi down further than he was before and when he finds his girlfriend has been cheating on him he hits rock bottom. That's when he's surprised by the appearance of his stepsister Ximena, played by the incredibly gorgeous Elsa Pataky, and her husband, played by Murciano, a few days after the funeral.

Together they head on a road trip to their old haunt of Mancura, reluctantly at first and then, slowly, they get to know each other once again. Through a series of mistakes and misadventures that escalate to the violent beginning we see in the film, the characters grow closer together and reveal their true selves.

TheFilm.pngThe story is pretty good and does capture your attention with some interesting and engaging supporting actors. It has to be said that the lead actor isn't that interesting to watch or shows much range. For the most part he just looked moody and smoked, and there could have been a lot more made of him and I'm sure of his talents.

Elsa Pataky and Enrique Murciano were the attractions of the film providing strong performances, but for me it was most definitely Murciano who gave the best performance of the film, the most charismatic, but then he does play a little bit of a bad guy. They both carry more range than Day does and to be fair their characters allow them to do more.

The relationships between the characters are strong, and perhaps the part of the film that provides for the most drama and interest. It was best handled between the two male leads, they have a combative relationship to start with but they begin to find common ground and move closer together, a move that's played out pretty well, not overly emotional or too much.

Yet the ultimate resolution of this relationship wasn't as strong as I would have hoped and was lead to believe, and I had to watch it fizzle out in a very unsatisfying way.

For the most part the film carries a good pace, but it does drag a little in the middle and it seems to lose sight of the plot, however it does pick up again and start heading on the right track, heading back to the beginning.

The moment of epiphany and the ending did feel as they could have had more of a punch, they seemed to really pull out and play on the philosophical nature of the ending which did feel a little too long.

The photography is well worth mentioning as the locations are rich and visually exciting, and the cinematography is strong.

Overall.pngMáncora has an interesting story that stumbles slightly in the middle and sees to fade out in some key moments of resolution rather than having more satisfying conclusions. This is also true for the ending too. However the journey is good and watching both Enrique Murciano and Elsa Pataky was enjoyable for both acting and good looks, good looks that are carried into the cinematography of the film.

UK IMDB Film Details
Filmstalker's Edinburgh International Film Festival 2008 page



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