Tim Roth is excellent in an intriguingly enigmatic film that shoots itself not in the foot, but in the head with its final scene.
Michel Franco, the Mexican director of “After Lucia”, a tough drama about bullying, returns with a film that like its predecessor, is calm on the surface, but is not afraid, on the contrary rather seeks, to provoke.
Set in America, one of the first shots is of a man who washes a very weak, suffering, silent woman in the shower. You do not know the exact nature of their relationship, but by his dedicated care, you assume that this is an extremely beloved, tender couple. Later, at her funeral, you will realize that he was her nurse, and along with the niece of the dead woman you will wonder if he goes to the funeral of each of his “customers”.
During the film, David will be revealed as a deeply giving, but also deeply troubled man. His relationship with the people he takes care of is much closer than the relationship they have with their relatives. He immerses himself completely in their lives and cares for them with an almost unhealthy obsession.
Franco’s camera follows David in his rarely exciting daily life without judging or trying to analyze him, making a slow-moving, emotionally painful but really strong portrait of him and the people around him.
Unfortunately, all this muffled intensity and disturbing atmosphere will defuse in the worst possible way in a finale that seems equally awkward and artificially shocking. A finale that, if seen as an exciting way to close a story without clear finale, does not work well at all, or,on the other hand, if it is seen as a moral judgment about the hero and his actions, it then becomes a finale that is nothing less than infuriating.