Inevitable: Film Review

Courtesy of Splendor Films
A distinctive, intermittently sharp take on love and capitalism, long on ideas but short on subtlety.

Jorge Algora’s follow-up to the unfairly neglected "The Mud Boy."

Inevitable is one of those films that thinks ambitiously but then forgets to take care of the details. An uneven, valiantly contemporary item that plays out at the interface between love and capitalism, it’s always engrossing, though not always for the right reasons. Like The Mud Boy before it, it shows Jorge Algora -- a Spanish director given to working with Argentinean materials -- to be a worthy director who wants to make grown-up films for grown-up people about grown-up things, but this time the canvas is just too large, so it coheres better at the level of its ideas than its drama.

Somewhat awkwardly straddled between mainstream and art house, Inevitable should see some fest play, with limited theatrical distribution in Hispanic territories.

A gently evocative opening credits sequence, featuring a man and a weeping woman crossing one another’s path before hesitating and moving on, sets the bar high as well as introduces one of the film’s themes -- that of the unmade decision, the road not taken. Fabian (Dario Grandinetti) is a banker who sees his colleague Freire (Carlos Kaspar) die of a heart attack after being ruthlessly fired. His wife, Mariela (Carolina Peleritti), is a psychologist who is treating a particularly aggressive patient, the elderly Olga (Spanish actress Mabel Rivera, overacting), who accuses Mariela of being just as screwed up as she is.

Several characters are little more than stock figures: Fabian’s boss, for example, delivers lines such as “we’re not about justice, we’re about profit,” which suggest that the film has a clumsily expressed anti-capitalist agenda, which also is evoked through Fabian’s empty-headed, materialistic teenage daughter. They are the kinds of character that a writer who has never actually met such people might dream up. Meanwhile, Fabian starts to feel dissatisfied with his comfortable, bourgeois existence and falls for an artist, Alicia (Antonella Costa), who he feels embodies all the values which his former life does not.

Fabian befriends an aging, blind writer (played by the great Federico Luppi and unnamed, though Spanish speakers will realize that there’s only one blind Argentinean writer on whom the character could possibly be based: Jose Luis Borges). The writer is just the kind of spiritually wise old bird, representative of a bygone world, whom Fabian -- who's never read a book -- is seeking. Luppi/Borges explains that there exist other, parallel worlds which represent our unlived lives, and Fabian enthusiastically embarks upon his new, previously unlived life as his actual life starts to unravel around him.

It’s an interesting, typically Argentinean philosophical base around which to wrap a story, and Inevitable certainly deliver much food for thought. But it delivers it in an overly schematic way, as though its ideas matter more than its people or story, so that the characters feel like illustrations of the ideas and the story is unexploited as drama. It would, for example, have been pleasant not to have realized quite so soon the identities of the two characters from the opening sequence.

That said, Grandinetti, Costa and Luppi are strong enough to make us believe in them, with Grandinetti in particular credibly charting the path from riches to ruin, and to a striking conclusion that cannot be called a twist simply because it is so unexpected.

Algora, who seems thankfully incapable of playing it safe, is capable of touches of both the wonderfully theatrical -- the urgency of the sex scenes between Fabian and Alicia is elegantly conveyed via rapid jump cuts and sharp fragments of tango -- and the risible.

For example, at times Grandinetti is obliged to don a ridiculous disguise that threatens to tip the entire thing over into absurd comedy, and although the idea is no doubt to evoke the absurd comedy that Fabian's life has become, it comes over merely as somewhat silly comedy that’s entirely out of keeping with the generally somber, otherwise convincing mood.

Production: Zarlek, Adivina

Cast: Dario Grandinetti, Federico Luppi, Mabel Rivera, Carolina Peleritti, Antonella Costa 

Director: Jorge Algora

Screenwriters: Jorge Algora, Hector Carre, based on a play by Mario Diament

Producers: Susana Maceiras, Luis Sartor

Director of photography: Suso Bello

Production designer: Sebastian Roses, Andrea Pozo

Editor: Guillermo Represa

Music: Berroguetto

Wardrobe: Mariana Polski, Eva Camino

Sales: Splendor Films

No rating, 95 minutes

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