Tuesday, January 25, 2005


★ ★ Robert Nelms and Director David Ocanas have penned what was referred to at Sundance as a “metaphysical thriller.” It almost works. The movie begins with a mysterious sequence of a woman seen only by her bare feet walking along a sidewalk in a Mexican city. Shortly thereafter, we are introduced to Nadine James, an attorney who soon learns that her sister is missing in Tijuana.

Although they were not close, Nadine is haunted by dreams of her sister, and immediately heads for Tijuana to try to find her. But it quickly becomes clear that what we are experiencing is not the linear and tangible reality we are all accustomed to. Dream-like sequences come and go. Events are repeated, but not exactly. Nadine runs into Kafkaesque characters in an Alice in Wonderland setting. On one level, she is playing the role of a detective, trying to unravel a mystery. But on another, she is clearly battling her own demons and trying to decipher the meaning of her own psychological flailings.

You get the feeling that Ocanas is attempting to follow the success of M. Night Shyamalan. But there are too many flaws in the script; too many contrivances. The tension drags on without building to a climax. Some of the clues are too obvious, and some absolutely elusive. Having said all that, I believe that thrillers need to play by a simple rule: At the end of the film, do I realize that I could have figured it out if I had been sufficiently smart and observant? And to be fair, Between passed this litmus test.

As an aside, I sat next to the producer of the movie at its world premiere. He was coming out of his seat in excitement. (That’s a great part of the fun at Sundance. There is so much anticipation and enthusiasm accompanying each movie.) Turns out I was right in the midst of the cast and crew. For many of them, including Ocanas, it was their first feature-length film. To their credit, this was an ambitious maiden voyage.


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