First time director Juan Schnitman unveils El Incendio a movie that’s set in the space of twenty four hours about the hot and cold relationship between Lucia (Pilar Gamboa) and Marcelo (Juan Barberini). The two offer a violent chemistry from the start, with their banter threatening to turn from playful to sexual in seconds. Their forced to leave the safety of their apartment to deliver a large sum money to a suspicious friend in order to buy their new house.
When outside forces try to stop the delivery from happening, they begin to turn on one another. Schnitman does a good job of the fight scenes which could have been predictable but instead the characters bounce from one another with unconventional writing like magnets forced to reject one another.
The handing over of cash physically is an unwelcome salute to one of Argentina's laws, possibly mirroring Schnitman's own frustration, and when that fails they are forced to emotionally endure each other. On what should have been a special day to commemorate, they are, instead, at each other's throats in the other way, the violence that was only teased in the beginning now boils through with anger. The dance of control and power begins between the two characters and violence, information and sex appeal are their weapons of choice.
The direction and cinematography were on par with one another as the isolated apartment in the big city further enhanced the distance between the characters, despite being close enough to touch either they couldn’t be emotionally further away from one another. Despite having a full apartment to be free of one another the apartment gave an odd emotional claustrophobia.
The movie struggles to find its footing and struggles with pace as we're either seeing a passionate argument between the two or a silent and gloomy lull, as the characters take their time to reenergise from each other. Understandably, it was an attempt for the audience to mirror the characters emotions but it was executed a little too gratuitously to make a lasting effect. Overall, a compelling and sympathetic look into a toxic relationship.
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