Review: Jacinto

Written and directed by Javi Camino, a robust adult with the mind of a child lives with his ageing parents, the last inhabitants remaining in an isolated rural village in the Galician mountains. When a couple of young girls arrive to take residence at an abandoned house in the village, Jacinto becomes convinced that they are vampires. Starring: Pedro Brandariz Gómez, Miro Magariños, Amancio Becerra, Anxela Baltar, Corinna Rautenberg, Pilar Miguélez and Juanma Buiturón.

Early on it’s hard to get a read on this film, it feels as though it’s playing into a number of different genres and almost creating a fairy tale-esque existence in this small community. It has the classic closed-off, gossiping, paranoid and judgemental feel of village life, which creates a strong atmosphere going in. Initially it feels as though the perspective, through the direction and its use of score, is being framed as though you’re seeing the story through Jacinto’s childlike mind but sadly that starts to dissipate as time goes on. There’s even at times a touch of western to the tone it puts out, not quite wild west but a little more rough and unrefined. However it starts to feel more predictable as it heads towards its latter half, bringing through a tone that feels sadly familiar, and it loses its previously adventurous, fantasy like style.

It’s a similar story with the writing, earlier on it feels more unique with its bunch of slightly strange characters. It both touches upon a modern feel with its metalheads and their strive for fame, and a more traditional vein with its farming. The pieces work together but as it moves forward it loses focus, it becomes unclear whose story it’s trying to tell and doesn’t feel as though it really does justice to any of them. The latter moments have an edge as though they’re going for a more dark comedy style but the humour isn’t strong enough to pull it off. Ultimately it ends up feeling like it tried to do too much and simply needed to focus its energy into one direction more to make the story have a stronger, clearer aim.

Gómez gives a great performance as the titular Jacinto, he captures that childlike mind, he feels intensely vulnerable and susceptible. There are moments where you’re not quite sure what to think of him and if he does or doesn’t understand his actions, but regardless you can’t help but to sympathise with him. Buiturón as Jacinto’s brother Millán feels more predictable and stereotypical, you can feel the direction his character is going in before it happens. Magariños and Miguélez are perfectly down to earth as the Becerra’s, they’re exactly the type of elderly, old-fashioned couple you think of living in a rural village and with a nice touch of personality for both of them. Baltar can feel somewhat wooden at times as Alexandra, she has quite a one-noted personality which lacks energy. However Rautenberg has a much more relatable feel, it would have been great to see more from her character.

Jacinto is undoubtedly unusual, it touches upon a unique blend of genres but feels as though it forgets to eventually settle down and focus its story. At the start it feels very much as though it’s all about Jacinto but as time goes on it spreads itself out too much to know what it’s ultimately trying to achieve. It has some very original ideas but its gradual attempt to evolve into a dark comedy rather than a strange adventure isn’t backed up by enough humour to work successfully.

Verdict: ✯✯

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