SFIFF57: Josef Wladyka’s “Manos Sucias”

ManosSucias_03three-stars15At the risk of coming across as a jaded and cynical curmudgeon, Manos Sucias, whose translation means Dirty Hands (meant here literally and figuratively), is yet another one of those movies with a been-there done-that storyline – in this case, poor Colombians doing illegal and dangerous things (smuggling drugs) in order to try to get ahead in life – whose effect on me amounts to one of complacency and just plain boredom. Yet that doesn’t mean there aren’t aspects of the film I can’t recognize as being noteworthy, regardless of whether or not they worked for me.

For starters, when it comes to creating suspense that’s where this film is at its strongest, which is saying a lot considering I had so much trouble getting on board with the overall choice aesthetics of the movie.

While I understand and even admirer the decision to film most everything in super close-up and with uneven bouncing handheld shots (e.g., the characters’ suffocating situation and inability to see beyond their present claustrophobic ordeal), there came a time early on in the film where I just said goodbye to my sea legs (most of the film takes place in sea, hence the sea legs analogy). Okay, for the same reason that there wasn’t any real point in me over explaining my use of the words sea legs as an analogy, I also feel there isn’t any real point for me to continue to talk about the mediocrity that I felt towards this film.

This was one of those weird film watching experiences where I wasn’t upset that I saw it but I wasn’t all that pleased either. It sort of just happened. And that’s it.

Remaining showtimes for Manos Sucias:
Thursday, May 8th 6:00pm (Sundance Kabuki)

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Categories: Reviews, San Francisco International Film Festival

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