Monday, May 29, 2017

The Bar (SIFF 2017) - Movie Review

The Movie: The Bar

The Director: Álex de la Iglesia

The Cast: Blanca Suárez, Mario Casas, Carmen Machi, Joaquín Climent, Jaime Ordóñez

The Story: A group of strangers are trapped inside a bar.

The Review:
Álex de la Iglesia is no stranger to making movies that lay on the edge of insanity with stories that are equal parts comedy, fantasy, and a little bit of scary thrown in just for fun. Previous SIFF favorites Witching and Bitching and As Luck Would Have It definitely fall into this category so The Bar was definitely a film I had my eyes on as this year's festival approached. Even with that level of expectation, I was still very impressed with the story and was pretty much on the edge of my seat the entire time. The director doesn't waste any time in putting the characters together and shoving them straight down a proverbial rabbit hole of life and death decision making.

The cast, headlined by Blanca Suárez (The Skin I Live In) and Mario Casas (Grupo 7), are each perfectly placed in their roles and the ensemble does a great job with handling the intensity and insanity that is constantly thrown at their characters. Things get out of hand petty quickly and you're right there with each character, hoping they don't do something stupid or make the wrong decision although they do at just about every turn. Inside all of the chaos and craziness is a very effective analysis of the human condition reminiscent of 2007's The Mist, although with a much more comedic and outrageous tilt to it.

The Verdict:
The Bar is fun, it is intense, and it is a very satisfying comedic thriller. The story is filled with flawed characters who tend to make really bad decisions in the face of a no win, life or death situation and that's what makes it so much fun.

The Bar is an official selection of the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival.

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