Review: A La Cara (Face to Face)

Directed by Javier Marco and written by Belén Sánchez-Arévalo, a television hostess faces the man who insulted her on a social network. Starring: Sonia Almarcha and Manolo Solo.

In a world rampant with social media hateful comments from, seemingly, anonymous sources have become a terrifying norm. With people able to hide behind their devices and never have to face the consequences of their words, it creates a sense of freedom which a depressing amount of people abuse on a daily basis. A La Cara asks the question of how trolls will react when faced with real world consequences to their abhorrent comments? And it’s a terrific question to ask. There’s a behemoth of a conversation to be had about how social anonymity leads to people willingly forgetting or being blissfully ignorant of the fact that their actions affect others, or that they stop seeing the people behind the handles.

Of course, that’s not something you can entirely cover in a 14-minute short film but A La Cara is a brilliant jumping off point. The writing also manages to touch upon a superb balance of darkness, there’s a very satisfying edge to the way the story progresses. Even without any context, you can immediately guess the type of language this particular troll has used, it’s nicely reflective of the sadly predictable nature of online insults.

It’s also shot extremely well, for the most part taking place in one singular room, a room which is fairly closed in and perfectly heightens the sense of being trapped. The colour palette is fairly muted, everything is kept on a cleverly even playing field, in an everyday setting, with nothing to distract from the beautifully building tension. A factor which is lovingly helped by the performance from Sonia Almarcha, her stony demeanour is terrific. What she’s facing should theoretically cause her to have an outpour of emotion, but by keeping her cool and forcing it to be a logical, precise conversation, both her performance and the writing make a sincere, poignant point. Manolo Solo counters that performance well with a very genuine scramble to find the words to justify his actions.

A La Cara is a bitingly sharp portrayal of what could happen if online trolls were forced to face the real life consequences of their hateful actions. Sonia Almarcha and Manolo Solo give polar opposite performances which are both equally on point. It’s such a relevant topic and it deals with it in a masterful and elegant manner.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯✯ | 10/10

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