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Chronicle of an Escape (DVD Review)

6 Jul, 2008 By: David Greenberg

Chronicle of an Escape

Prebook 7/8/08; Street 8/19/08
Box Office $0.002 million
$24.95 DVD
Rated ‘R' for brutality and torture, nudity and language.
In Spanish with English subtitles.

Utterly gripping and intense, Chronicle of an Escape grabs the viewer's attention from the start and does not let go for a second.

Based on a true story of a suspected militant's arrest, incarceration, brutal torture and eventual freedom in 1970s Buenos Aires, it is impossible to look at the events of 30 years ago and not imagine that the same sort of inhumane behavior is going on around the world in any number of contemporary political hotspots.

The film is in equal parts deeply disturbing and incredibly provocative, often simultaneously, and it achieves an oddly effective overall position in the world of cinema, the must-see that might be too hard to watch for many.

The film focuses on soccer player Claudio Tamburrini (Rodrigo de la Serna) whose family is brutally interrogated in their home while he practices. Suspected of being involved with an underground liberal activist movement, Claudio is kidnapped on his way home, bound, blindfolded by plainclothes military thugs and taken to an abandoned house that is being used as a secret government processing facility.

Tragically, he is not alone in his captivity; dozens of others suspected of anti-establishment activities are being held there, subjected to atrocities that are extremely painful to even think about, much less watch in a movie. Eventually, Claudio and three others managed to escape with nothing but the slimmest threads of dignity on their backs. The screenplay was based on their testimonies.

Director Adrián Caetano has fashioned a taut political thriller that impressively speaks to the past as a way of commenting on the present. Stylish but not overbearing, the film is often shot with tight, claustrophobic angles that depict the prisoner's confines and sense of sensory depravation and shaky handheld cinematography that helps to set the unstable, anxious mood of the piece.

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