|WE ARE WHAT WE ARE|
|Written by jmauceri|
|Saturday, 19 February 2011 00:00|
RELEASING: IFC Midnight
CREW: Director/Screenplay - Jorge Michel Grau; Producer Nicolás Celis; Cinematographer - Santiago Sánchez; Score - Enrico Chapela; Editor - Rodrigo Ríos; Production Designer - Alejandro García; Costume Design - Fernanda Vélez; Sound Designer Federico Schmucler.
CAST: Alfredo… FRANCISCO BARREIRO; Julián… ALAN CHÁVEZ; Sabina… PAULINA GAITÁN; Patricia… CARMEN BEATO; Owen… JORGE ZÁRATE; Octavio… ESTEBAN SOBERÁNES.
REVIEW: WE ARE WHAT WE ARE is a rare example of imaginative filmmaking reinventing a genre film like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” by shifting it to a new location, adding a fresh cast of characters, and giving the plot a new spin. This family of cannibals is so peculiar that WE ARE WHAT WE ARE presents audiences with “The Addams Family” meets “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” feel (the original, not the remake produced by Michael Bay, which isn’t a bad film unto itself.)
Jorge Michel Grau is both screenwriter and director, and by having that much control you can feel that the film is the better for it. As with any good genre film you can take it face value or look for social commentary, and the film delivers both. It is diverse, a result of the different perspectives presented by each family member. The narrative is peppered with interesting elements and characters that are not explained and some left unresolved, and in this instances something I enjoyed as it added an air of mystery to be discussed after viewing. The film’s lighter moments come from society at large – the outsiders. As the narrative draws to an end the darker more sinister tones over take the plot. Upon reflection, you begin to appreciate that the underlying narrative structure is reminiscent of a Shakespearian tragedy, especially the film’s sweeping bloody and violent climax.
The ensemble cast is equally as impressive. You believe these are members of the same dysfunctional, sociopathic, family. The actors craft individual personalities that set them apart, adding an engaging subtext to the performances and plot. Even the minor characters resonate as the supporting cast delivers excellent performances.
WE ARE WHAT WE ARE is technically impressive. The cinematography plays with the shadows to enhance the performances. I thought the special effects were more believable then some of the work in many of the American independent films.
Many of the engaging film work being done in the genre today are coming from outside the United States and Britain. Spain, Mexico, and Northern Europe are producing films that are especially superior in terms of narrative and use of technology. Jorge Michel Grau’s WE ARE WHAT WE ARE is wickedly delightful treat that earns a place on my DVD to purchase list and should first be enjoyed on a big screen. I look forward to Grau’s next film with excitement and hope it is another journey into the dark recesses of humanity.
WE ARE WHAT WE ARE official website - http://www.wearewhatweare.co.uk
**Based on the regular $13.00 ticket prices exclusive for the IFC Center NYC.