GORE IN THE STORE
IN THE QUARRY **
Directed by Bernardo Antonaccio & Rafael Antonaccio.
Starring Rafael Beltran, Paula Silva, Augusto Gordillo, Luis Pazos.
Thriller, Uruguay, 82 minutes.
Reviewed as part of the Arrow Video FrightFest, Glasgow,
This debut feature from the duo of Bernardo and Rafael Antonaccio takes the premise of a simmering love triangle, the dangerous tensions it causes and stretches it out to breaking point that may test the patience of many viewers. Stripped down, it relies on a capable cast to carry it through on its minimal storyline.
Focusing on the four characters of burgeoning couple Bruno and Alicia and her childhood friends Tincho and Tola the film immediately sets out the tension between them by showing Alicia and Tincho’s physical affair. Matters are further strained by the barely suppressed hostility that Bruno shows to Alicia’s small town friends and the glee they take in teasing his city slicker behaviour. Stuck by themselves in the titular and remote quarry, tempers soon begin to fray over the course of one long hot day. Increasingly troublesome is the way that Bruno treats Alicia when her friends' backs are turned. Possessive and belittling he is the epitome of the manipulative boyfriend who keeps his partner in check through snide comments about everything including herself.
Not that Tincho comes across all that better. Physically imposing and continuously putting Alicia into a difficult position it makes the viewer wonder what Alicia sees in either man. It is this predicament, as well as its bare bones storyline that feels s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out over its brief but still too long running time that could cause viewers to look elsewhere for something more compelling.
There are small flashes of tension teasing at a bloodier affair that sadly fails to materialise. By the time the films limp conclusion stumbles along the viewer is left wondering what the film is actually about. The possessive attitude of men towards women? Plain old chauvinism? Maybe, but if that is the case it is a depressingly empty and cynical statement on those issues with the portrayal of Alicia’s character as a seemingly willing and/or powerless participant.
The cast do well enough here. As Bruno, Augusto Gordillo is given the most to play with here. Angry and cuckolded he does well in portraying a figure who soon comes to believe he is under siege from those around him. Rafael Beltran’s portrayal of Tincho is amiable when he needs to be and needily sulky the rest of the time. The most sympathetic and charming of the group is Luis Pazos’ Tola, a happy go lucky chap who is just happy to be among friends. Whilst Paula Silva gives a sympathetic performance of the character who simultaneously goes through the lions share of suffering and is inadvertently the cause of it for the rest of the cast.
In The Quarry, or En El Pozo to give it its original untranslated title, is a pretty paper thin film on all fronts. There are flashes of a lean, mean and nasty thriller in here but as soon as they appear the film takes the easy and far less interesting way out at each opportunity. For those that know what the film is offering it may pass as a slight diversion when nothing else is available but for an unsuspecting and curious viewer who may just happen across it there is next to nothing to hold their attention let alone reward it.