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Debutants, The

Reviewed By Greg Muskewitz
Posted 02/02/04 16:08:51

"Debutants, indeed."
2 stars (Pretty Crappy)

Temerarious Chilean drama from the Tarantino school of filmmaking, about two small town boys relocated to the big city who both fall in love with a porno theater ticket girl who moonlights as a stripper, and is also the “personal property” of the thug that runs the joint.

The outset has the brief celebration of the younger brother’s seventeenth birthday (by some quick lips-to-limp-penis action) and the older brother getting hired at that very club, though he misses the performance of the foam-covered object of sexuality both of them are lickerous over. The progression of the story continues tendentiously from the younger brother’s trials to court the stripper (they go out for ice cream: how cute!) until finally nailing her behind the projected image of porn and then getting pummeled in the black of the men’s restroom. The perspective then switches to the older brother’s, covering in short detail what we already know, and filling in the gaps with his story, before breaking off again to see all through the eyes of the stripper. Debutant filmmaker Andrés Waissbluth alternatively clutters his movie with incensed sexuality, brutal violence, and dully predictable plotting in a desperate attempt to capitalize on the style and narrative tricks made so popular by Tarantino. Not all of it is awash — the fresh-faced Antonella Ríos makes a splash (though she looks best when without her public dressing), and the introductory plot strand does the best to get the ball rolling and launch what information we are seen fit to comprehend through the younger hermano’s eyes. But with each subsequent re-hash and re-visitation of the same course of events, even if they expand slightly beyond one character’s sight, the previously traversed terrain is more rushed, less detailed, and less compelling than upon first glance. Waissbluth lacks to skills as a storyteller and as a filmmaker to make the borrowed gimmicks appear as anything more than a subaltern and vitiated copy. With Néstor Cantillana, Juan Pablo Miranda, and Alejandro Trejo.

[See it if you must.]

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