Lock in for a pulsive, neon-soaked fever dream thriller made for the big screen.
The character-driven thriller genre has delivered some iconic films throughout the years, think films like Serpico, Taxi Driver and Dog Day Afternoon. These films viscerally explore morality, desire, and obsession through a character’s subjective descent into the dark reaches of the human psyche. These films are sometimes not for the faint of heart, they fearlessly push the cinema experience to scratch below the surface of the darker side of human nature and see what can be found… Enter David Victori’s Cross The Line, a nightmarish psychological thriller that embodies the classics of old and brings them screaming into 2021, playing exclusively at the Moro Spanish Film Festival 2021.
The film follows Dani, a kind-hearted young man who’s spurred by the recent passing of his father and closest friends and family to take chances and embrace the life he has been neglecting. After being bought a round-the-world ticket by his sister, Dani is set to take the trip of his life, but on the cusp of booking his trip, he meets Mila, a free-spirited girl who is as charismatic as she is mysterious. This chance encounter thrusts Dani on a night he will never forget as this seemingly innocuous encounter unravels the worst nightmare Dani could think possible.
Director David Victori (The Pact) places heavy emphasis upon experiencing every moment of this nightmare in Dani’s shoes and this is achieved via a few different filmmaking tools. The first and most obvious choice is the use of a Verite style of camerawork that embraces the kinetic energy of the story, this is also matched with an almost completely subjective sound design, in that we don’t hear or experience anything outside of what Dani does (reminiscent of the famous ‘cigarette’ scene in All That Jazz and the Academy Award Winning Sound of Metal). Another tasteful choice from Victori is the inversion of the typically sun-soaked streets of Spain we’re accustomed to seeing. Instead, we glimpse a world not commonly captured, we’re presented with a neon-soaked, gritty and desolated city that only helps elevate the stakes of the story.
Attention must be paid to Mario Casas’ performance, winner of this year’s Goya Award for Best Actor, this performance is what makes this entire film work. A lesser performance would have lacked the empathy an audience needs to follow a character through such turmoil, too on the nose the audience wouldn’t believe such a large descent for a character, but Casas effortlessly navigates the balancing act of maintaining sympathy for the audience but also remaining restrained enough for us to follow him through his moral upheaval and question what he will do next. Another stand out is Milena Smit as Mila. In her Feature-debut, also nominated for a Goya Award for Best New Actress, Smit is simply electric as Dani’s catalyst into hell. She paints an incredibly raw, sensual and charismatic character that is both intoxicating and intimidating. We are so quickly enamoured by her, even when we know there is danger lurking around the corner.
Cross The Line is one of those unique thrillers that don’t come along often, it’s powerful, taught and brimming with fresh new talent. Act fast and watch it on the big screen before it’s too late!
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