Once again Argentina proves its filmmaking mettle.
2016 Argentinian thriller ‘At the End of the Tunnel‘ is equal parts Hitchcock suspense and modern crime cinema. Strong performances, stylish direction, and nail-biting tension wrapped into a decidedly twisted a-morality tale that rivets your eyes to the screen.
Joaquin (Leonardo Sbaraglia, powerful) lives a solitary existence: Saddened from unspeakable loss, anchored to a wheelchair from a crippling injury, and now burdened with having to mercifully end the life of his only friend, a suffering old dog named Casimiro.
However, his life is about to turn upside down as the lively Berta (Clara Lago) shows up to rent his upstairs apartment with a mute young daughter in tow.
These staging scenes borrow heavily from Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’. As a computer engineer Joaquin works from his shop in the basement. From there he listens in on his next door neighbors’ plans to rob a bank by digging a tunnel. And he gets an idea…
Sbaraglia’s strong, emotional performance weighs the film, even at its most elaborately contrived moments. We identify with this man’s sadness and learn to tolerate his growing more sordid behavior.
With a number of memorably tense moments as plans go into motion and things, per usual, spiral into unpredictable and increasingly dangerous directions. The back-half morphs into Scorsese levels of foreboding uncertainty, stark betrayal, and brutal violence. And, although many of the resolutions were telegraphed early on, the pay-offs still resonate in a satisfying way.
Filmmaker Rodrigo Grande exactingly frames each shot of this mysterious old house. A strong sense of isolation and loneliness is built around its mobility challenged occupant. The elaborately crafted tunnel heist sequences are thrillingly claustrophobic.
A not all together original concept put together in a fresh, exciting, and compelling way. With a crisp production, beautiful cinematography, and eerie musical score that match the strong performances and direction.
Argentina has had a slough of film masterstrokes over the last decade and ‘At the End of the Tunnel‘ / ‘Al final del túnel‘ is another grand addition.