Friday, April 19, 2013
Curandero (2005): Even The Shaman's Magic Can't Save This One...
Although this Mexican-made film apparently came out in 2005, it just hit the shelves here in the States last month. Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez—but more famously produced and written by Robert Rodriguez-—Curandero tells the story of a jaded healer and his quest to help solve a case of ritualistic murder.
Carlos (Carlos Gallardo) has taken on the profession of his late father of the town curandero, or spiritual healer/shaman. His father was incredibly respected and revered, and Carlos (and everyone around him) knows he will never amount to his legacy. It doesn’t help that Carlos hardly believes in the magic that he performs on a daily basis; he thinks, rather, that his potions and spells have a sort of placebo effect on the “cursed”.
One day the monotony in his life is broken when a super sexy (seriously, does this outfit comply with dress code?) federal agent, Magdalena (Gizeht Galatea), shows up at his house requesting the help of his father. After discovery of Carlos’ father’s death and the strange connection between the three of them, Carlos reluctantly takes on his role as curandero to cleanse a crime scene.
The two come to the conclusion that the murders are not acting on behalf of Satanism, but Mithraism—a very old and very mysterious Roman religion. (They mention nothing more about it other than it’s name, which is a shame because it is super interesting. Check it out!)
As much as I wanted to like this film, it was pretty bad, but it did have potential! Robert Rodriguez’s familiar, seedy, sexy, and often ridiculous story was there, but director Eduardo just did not pull it off. It took itself too seriously, which made the occasional campiness cheesy and unbearable. The pacing was all off—sometimes rushing past and other times dragging on a horrendous shoot-out scene—and too many jump scares dashes any chance at actual suspense or fright.
If the characters were developed in the script you would never have guessed because on screen they are dry, stagnant and often toting a single, universal facial expression. In other words, the acting sucks.
I believe this movie could have been done better; who knows why Robert Rodriguez couldn’t directed it himself, but if he did I think we would have a completely different film. The story line was rich enough and there were details about it that I really loved, such as the bits about superstition, Mexican spirituality, and the small reference to the secret, ritualistic religion of Mithraism. On a final note, I’d say that unless you are as big of a sucker for Satanic stories as I am, you will find little to enjoy in this film.