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Dot the I (2003)

El Punto sobre la I, Attraction fatale

Danger is in the details.

Starring:

Charlie Cox

Gael García Bernal

James DArcy

Jonathan Kydd

Len Collin

Michael Elwyn

Michael Webber

Myfanwy Waring

Natalia Verbeke

Tom Hardy

Yves Aubert

Directed by:

Matthew Parkhill

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 88 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: Spain, United Kingdom, United States

After a fiery but abusive relationship, Carmen (Natalia Verbeke) has fled Madrid for London, and is about to marry wealthy, kindly Barnaby (James D’Arcy) – the very opposite of her over-possessive, acid-throwing ex. Yet on her hen night she finds her lips locking with Kit (Gael García Bernal), an out-of-work actor who, along with his film-fanatic friends Tom (Tom Hardy) and Theo (Charlie Cox), has a habit of recording all aspects of his life on video camera. As the wedding approaches, Carmen must decide between dull Barnaby and passionate Kit – but with someone watching her every move from the shadows, she is about to be put in the picture that things are not quite as they seem.

‘Dot the I’ presents itself as a series of self-conscious clichés, taken for the most part from cinema’s romance genres. Carmen’s character – the hot Latina who is unlucky in love – is established in a sort of shorthand by her operatic name and her unlikely status as a part-time flamenco dancer (when she is not flipping burgers), while beneath all the passion her vulnerability makes her, as one character puts it, “a kind of ‘Betty Blue'”. Kit, on the other hand, faced with Carmen’s imminent marriage to another man, is advised by his cinephile friends to “do a ‘Graduate'” and snatch his beloved right from the altar. “Life is not a movie”, Kit complains, but THIS is a movie, and even his line, as Tom and Theo cheerily point out, comes straight from ‘Swimming With Sharks’ – another film that satirised the movie industry.

Amidst all the romantic slosh of ‘Dot the I’ lurks a mystery that is resolved in the third act with an earth-shattering twist, followed by a coda with several minor tremours – and trying to work out just what is going on before all the film’s i’s are dotted in the big revelation scene is half the fun. Unfortunately it is also about half as much fun as it ought to be – for writer/director Matthew Parkhill has invested so much effort into the jigsaw-like structure of his plot that he has neglected elements like character, crucial for engaging the interest, not to mention the sympathies, of the viewer. It was obviously a real coup to get Gael García Bernal (‘Amores Perros’, ‘Y Tu Mamá También’, The Motorcycle Diaries) to appear in this film, but there is so little on-screen chemistry between any of the leads that their love triangle, with its increasingly complicated configurations and permutations, ends up being of more appeal to the geometrician than to the average filmgoer.

In short, this is a film whose ingenious premise may well leave you feeling a little cold.

It's Got: An ingenious structure with a killer twist, and some disorienting camerawork that is not merely gratuitous.

It Needs: Some warmth to the characters - without it, all that remains is the twist, and with it the twist would be easier to swallow.

DVD Extras Scene selection; optional subtitles for the hard of hearing; Momentum trailer reel. Version reviewed: Dot The I (Momentum) DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Betty Blue, Eye of the Beholder, My Little Eye, The Graduate, The Last Horror Movie, Torremolinos 73

Summary

Latin spirit with a twist – definitely a heady mix, but far too cold to be truly refreshing.

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