By contributing blogger Benjamín Harguindey
Director Alberto Lecchi is one of Argentina’s trusty filmmaking craftsmen and after a 5 year pause he’s back with a thriller going by the token name of Alone With You (Sola contigo, 2013), in which your average creepy, distorted, voice-behind-the-phone gives protagonist María Teresa 5 days to live before she’s executed for a crime she doesn’t understand by a person she doesn’t know.
The marketing campaign would have you think the protagonists are Spanish Ariadna Gil and Argentine Leonardo Sbaraglia. It is in fact Gil’s show, as Sbaraglia tags along too late and too little. The movie is really about María Teresa, whose last days become a tour-de-force with the creepy mystery voice as her guide to events that seem random and nonsensical and will only make sense after the movie’s 2nd plot twist.
The movie’s tipsy pace undermines the tension of the thriller, being much too obvious about its core mystery (who wants María Teresa dead, and why?) so that it can surprise the viewer in the film’s final moments with a revelation few people will see coming (and which significantly improves the movie, or what’s left of it). Ariadna Gil does a wonderful job as María Teresa and a lesser performance would’ve rendered her character unlikable. Sbaraglia is charming as usual as the noirish homicide detective who comes calling by the movie’s third act, though he doesn’t get a lot of screentime and people going in for a Sbaraglia flick might feel cheated.
Earlier this year Argentine cinema saw the release of 7th Floor (Séptimo, 2013), another Argentine-Spanish co-production and thriller starring A-list leads from either country. Seeing as the Ricardo Darín vehicle raked up a considerable amount of viewers (close enough to the million viewers director Patxi Amezcua was rooting for) it’s possible the local box office may have tapped out in such productions already, and the release date is a little unfortunate.
Alone With You is by no means a copy of 7th Floor. It feels darker and grimmer, and its story is so much more unnerving and oppressive than Darín’s high-octane romp. It also makes so much more sense once you’re past that one plot twist.