Ana Risueño in “Impulsos” [2002 Spain]

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Miguel Alcantud wrote and made a promising directorial debut through the thriller, “Impulsos” [Eng. Title: Impulses]. I’m surprised he hasn’t made many more since then – this is one intelligent film made with innovative production ideas and techniques. Just because it doesn’t offer anything conclusive or show anything sensational wouldn’t make it any less a thriller. The film should be approached like a short story or an essay even – these are events happening at a given time and space. It is non-judgemental. And it doesn’t explain why the characters behave the way they do – that is left for the audience to do as they see fit. Not everything in life is cut-and-dried, and the same goes here too.

Sara is in mourning, and she is also obsessed with unfinished work after a pact with her former partner. But she couldn’t get to do it, and one day notices Jaime at a Madrid tube station – pushing a waiting passenger to his death in front of an approaching train. Killing random people impulsively is a bit of a hobby for Jaime – it could be a man, woman, or even animal – it is this randomness that has also helped him keep away from police radar. Sara blackmails Jaime into doing her a favour in return for not reporting to the police, after claiming to have visual evidence of the incident in her handheld camera. But through their various interactions henceforth, we see a strange dynamic developing between them.

The film reminds me of Pedro Almodóvar’s “Matador”, where too the two main characters are obsessed with death, but while they both take pleasure in killing, here it is only Jaime who likes to do the killing. Where as the couple’s dynamic is kinky and sexual in “Matador”, there is a deeper level of understanding and ‘trust’, for want of a better word, developing between Sara and Jaime. Partly why I love this film is that this dynamic isn’t artificially fed to us – it is organic and can only be seen upon reflection – Alcantud has made this film for an intelligent audience. The restrained performance by actors playing the main characters, Ana Risueño as Sara and Daniel Freire (Lucía y el Sexo) as Jaime work well for the film. As does the fine cinematography and clever editing that has a style of its own. Worthy of mention too is the rather cool jazz soundtrack (I think the band is JJJJJ Productions, but those in the know can correct me if I’m mistaken) – they are also shown performing in some scenes. My advice is, don’t listen to the IMDB ratings – this is definitely Recommended Viewing..! DVD Link



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