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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 31.82%
Just Average: 0%
Pretty Crappy: 27.27%
Sucks: 0%

2 reviews, 10 user ratings

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Dot the I
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by Jay Seaver

"Hey; there's no 'I' in the Spanish word for 'love' either! (Or so I'm told)"
4 stars

I ask in jest - is there a good-looking person shortage in the United Kingdom that required the makers of Dot the I to import all their sex appeal? It's a somewhat strange thing, seeing two Latin American actors starring in an English thriller. You start to wonder why they didn't just set the movie in Buenos Aires or Madrid, aside from the small matter of writer/director Matthew Parkhill being British.

I'm not complaining; I don't need the lady who is far too smart to be my girlfriend to tell me that Gael Garcia Bernal brings the hotness to his role of Kit, and the home movies of Natalia Verbeke's Carmen that open the movie are pretty darn sexy if you like the whole beautiful, curvy girl with a fantastic smile thing. The characters meet when Carmen's hen party (she's just gotten engaged) and Kit's night out with friends wind up seated at opposite ends of the same table in a French restaurant. The maitre d' announces that there is a French tradition about one last kiss, and Kit's the best-looking guy there. The kiss lasts longer than is probably polite, and she runs off, but a smitten Kit tracks Carmen down at her job to apologize.

But there's chemistry there, and she's got much more in common with Kit, who was born in Brazil but moved to England with his father when he was nine, than with her stuffy fiancé Barnaby (James D'Arcy). For crying out loud, he's named "Barnaby". And Carmen's got reason to be a little wary - she is engaged, after all, and she left Spain because her last boyfriend was not only the creepy stalker type, but burned her, too. There's a good chance he might have followed her across the English Channel - she often gets the feeling that she's being watched, and the way the camera suddenly shifts position after she gets one of these feelings - accompanied by a change in film stock - certainly suggests there's something to it. But is it Kit, Barnaby, this other guy, or someone else?

It's a short movie - ninety minutes - so don't expect the situation to get too convoluted. Still, the story does take some unexpected turns. Parkhill does play fair, with everything that happens in the second half being set up in the first, and he's pretty clever in how he plays with tone. The movie could have become a bland erotic thriller, but there's humor to balance the melodrama. Indeed, there's a big dollop of satire in the movie's last act. It's aimed at a target that was pretty much a sitting duck when the film was made two years ago, but since it's based as much on these particular characters than the basic concept and doesn't cast the dramatic elements elements aside - the satire supplements the drama, rather than replacing it - the movie still works maintains its suspense.

The cast may be unexpected, but they're plenty able. Bernal was educated in England, so the language isn't a particular barrier. His accent tends to wander a little - sometimes he sounds like a Londoner, sometimes like a Latin American affecting an English accent, and sometimes there's a random Northern/Scottish sound to his words. He's affable enough, although the story requires holding some of his character in reserve. Verbeke, on the other hand, gets to wear her character's heart on her sleeve, playing the type of girl whose volcanic bad temper gets her fired from thirty jobs in six months but still makes her seem more vivacious and attractive (I'm pretty sure this type only exists in movies). D'Arcy is something of a British stereotype, rich and probably titled and closed off until he meets the uninhibited girl, who is at least temporarily able to overcome his tendencies toward arrogance. Until...

Not much more I can tell you here; as I said, it's a short movie that relies on plot twists better not spoiled. It's fun, and sly enough to play WITH genre conventions while still playing BY them.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=6809&reviewer=371
originally posted: 04/12/05 10:25:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/25/07 ilona can anyone tell me the spanish quote they mention in the movie connected with the title? 5 stars
5/09/07 Nic WOW what a way to engaged an audience bernal outstanding performance 5 stars
5/06/06 Nicole The plot was engaging, but the ending was a bit too out there for me 4 stars
4/06/06 sara simply fantastic, I loved it 5 stars
12/05/05 everyone's a critic some loved it/some hated it - I LOVED it 5 stars
7/23/05 ear of plenty you guys must be Bruckheimer fans. The film was great 5 stars
3/08/05 Dylan Foyle Check this out. What a ride! 5 stars
3/24/04 RoBi Great and totally unpredictable 5 stars
3/11/04 Bernice this movie is great 5 stars
1/30/04 Chrgfan AWESOME!!!!!!!! 5 stars
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  11-Mar-2005 (R)
  DVD: 18-Oct-2005



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