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El Aura/The Aura

Just another heist film
By PETER KEOUGH  |  December 6, 2006
2.5 2.5 Stars

The “aura” is the moment of impotent clarity before a seizure, or so says Espinosa (Ricardo Darín), the epileptic hero of Fabián Bielinsky’s devious mystery. In that moment, a world opens up, one of ultimate freedom, because there’s no choice. That kind of describes the movie, too: at first it seems to offer endless surprises but in the end it succumbs to the expectations of its genre. It’s a heist film, but one that unfolds by means of dreamlike details: an errant shot, a dog with different-colored eyes, a child’s drawing. Espinosa is a taxidermist with perfect recall and an active imagination; he remembers everything and fantasizes about armed robbery. An aborted hunting trip involves him in a dangerous, ever-deepening caper, each twist of which he faces with stolid resignation. That seems the right attitude as he manages every obstacle his detached curiosity brings him up against. The only pitfall he and Bielinsky can’t overcome is the inexorability of a conventional resolution.

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