NEW YORK -- A delirious combination of sex comedy and mystery set in 1913 Spain, Joaquin Oristrell's "Unconscious" features nothing less than the theories of Sigmund Freud to propel its convoluted plot about a pregnant wife desperately searching for her missing psychoanalyst husband. Stylishly executed and beautifully photographed in sepia tones, the film ultimately succumbs under the weight of its excesses, but it offers amusing moments along the way.
Leon Mira (Alex Brendemuhl) has just been exposed to the Viennese doctor's revolutionary ideas when he mysteriously disappears, leaving his nine-months-pregnant wife, Alma (Leonor Watling), predictably frantic. She enlists her brother-in-law, Salvador (Luis Tosar), another psychoanalyst, to assist her in her search of her husband's patients, who may provide a clue as to his whereabouts. In the process, they encounter a wide variety of bizarre situations, including an underground club for transvestites, a whorehouse and a pornography ring.
The farcical goings-on are rendered in stylish visual fashion by Oristrell, who utilizes a variety of silent film-style techniques that give the effort an uncommon visual handsomeness. The film's satirical portrait of the early days of psychoanalysis provides needed intellectual comic bite to the broadly played proceedings.
But a lack of restraint also is on display, resulting in an overloaded comedy that seems to pile on one crazy scene after another to diminishing effect. Despite the fine comic efforts of its principal players, "Unconscious" ultimately has the feel of a dream that has gone on far too long.