A Red Bear (Argentina, 2002)
Sound: B- Extras: C- Film: B-
Argentina is seeing a possible new cinema rise up, and
though the long-term implications of this are uncertain, Adrian Caetano’s A
Red Bear (2002) offers mixed results.
Bear is the nickname of the title character (Julio Chavez) who has been
in prison for years. When he gets out,
his daughter who was newborn in his first days behind bars does not know him,
his wife is with another man and the same criminals are still very much alive.
We have seen and heard this story dozens of times before,
but to the film’s credit, it tries to show Argentina’s dark side as much as
possible. Too bad that is not enough to
stop the predictability, but the acting of the well-casted cast helps and
Caetano has some energy to apply to the tale.
Another problem is the issue of masculinity, which is not typical
here. It is a tough guy world, with
more than a few gay males being as weak as the more book-wise characters. That is cliché and is harder to dodge than
any formula. Ultimately, A Red Bear
is an interesting if not altogether successful film from a potentially budding
cinema. We look forward to seeing more.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is not bad, but
has some detail issues, though the color is consistent. Cinematographer Willi Behnisch (under the
name Jorge Guillermo Behnisch) does a nice job of capturing all kinds of
angular sections of the city of Buenos Aires, which benefits the film. There are few clichéd shots. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has Pro Logic
surrounds off of the original analog Dolby SR theatrical sound, which is not
bad and has some healthy surrounds.
Extras are slim, with five trailers, one for this and the rest for other
First Run releases. Too bad there is
not more analysis or some interviews.
Maybe next time.
- Nicholas Sheffo