Daniel & Ana (2010)
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Critic Reviews for Daniel & Ana
The spare, relentlessly controlled debut feature of the Mexican director Michel Franco, Daniel & Ana advances on minimal dialogue and with virtually no musical accompaniment.
The film's horrifying experience looms over each well-constructed frame without anywhere to go...
Too bad the director blows it with a last act that tips the film's delicate balance over into lurid grotesquerie, even as his staging remains as consciously muted as ever.
Daniel & Ana may seem like a terrible choice for a first date, but if you're brave enough, the post-cinematic discussion will assuredly be more revealing of character than any online compatibility test.
For more than 40 minutes nothing happens, there are the same shots, the same scenes, the same misfortune. A constant Deja vu. [Full review in Spanish]
Audience Reviews for Daniel & Ana
A difficult but admirable film that should have served as a breakout for director Michal Franco and lead actress Marimar Vega.
For the most part I found this to be an effectively told story about the post-traumatic stress these siblings suffer after going through a terrible experience. The film is very minimalist, static camera angles, not a lot of dialogue, the acting isn't over the top. I thought that this minimalism, at first, before the big moment in the film, was probably going to end up being a flaw and it really wasn't. I just wasn't into this movie at all during the first 20 minutes. But I found the minimalism in the film, AFTER the big scene, to be more believable and disturbing than it would've been otherwise. I think the film makes it a point to show just how one tiny little thing as making a left (or right, I forget) turn, which Daniel forgot to make, can pretty much change your life in an instant. They don't beat you over the head with it, it is far more subtle but I found it, again, to be very effective. The acting, at least from Marimar Vega, was quite good. The guy who played Daniel....eh, he wasn't as good. Just because the character happens to be more understated and is a character that, clearly, has internalized the issues he has after what happened, that doesn't make him good. I mean if it's a role that required more of an emotional output from him, I don't think he could've pulled it off. Anyway if there IS a problem with the film, outside of Dario's acting, is that the twist in the film felt really sleazy and more like attention-grabbing rather than a logical continuation to the story. If you look at the film and Daniel's progression as a character, if you really think about his issues, what he did ends up making sense. So perhaps it IS a "logical" continuation of the character, but it certainly felt like something out of a completely different movie. Here we have a character study about how siblings react to a horrible experience, and then the twist happens and it, again, just feels so sleazy, attention-whoring and exploitative. It's something that the movie definitely didn't need because it actually made the movie worse. It's not like I was going to give the movie 4 stars, only 3, but this twist sort of destroyed everything the film had done right up until that point. Not to mention the fact that Daniel and Ana both go on with their lives, after the twist, as if nothing had happened. I could understand both of them not telling their family after they were kidnapped and being *MAJOR SPOILERS* being forced to have sex with each other, it was something they just wanted to move on from and forget. They were forced by people who were threatening to kill them, so it was only logical they'd do it. But after the twist, why would Ana remain quiet after what Daniel did to her? The first time could be excused as you were pretty much forced to do it, but the second time, what's the reason for Ana's secrecy? It just adds to the exploitative nature of the twist and it's, quite simply, not good storytelling. Anyway, this stupid twist keeps the movie from being good, even though it was well on its way to being a good film. The twist pulls the movie back and makes it into an average experience.
I watched it and found myself cringing at certain moments. The turmoil plaguing their lives is easily seen. It's heavy, yet subtle but a very decent film.
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