Colombia is now more concerned with armed robbers than Marxist terrorists or
drug cartels. Sounds like progress to
me. It is still a dangerous country
though, especially for a gang of takers about to be taken in Alexander
Giraldo’s 180 Seconds (trailer here), which screens during
this year’s New York Latino Film Festival.
is planning a major heist on the day of an all important World Cup qualifying
game against Uruguay. Viewers know from
the flashback structure, both will end badly for the home teams. It seems Zico’s gang got played, but Giraldo
keeps the details sketchy, hop-scotching back and forth along the timeline,
often replaying several key scenes, but backing up successively further each
time to supply more context.
outfit is a family affair, including his beloved hacker sister Angelica and
their lifelong boon companion, El Guajaro.
Rincon is the only outsider in the mix, hired on the advice of their
nicked pal. He seems to fit in, because
strong sullen types always do. However,
when he catches Angelica’s eye, it causes a bit of friction between the new guy
and her suspiciously co-dependent brother.
Zico acts like things are cool, but you never can tell with him. Regardless, things will get bloody when it is
finally go time.
its time-shifts and a plot often paralleling Reservoir Dogs, 180 owes
an obvious debt to Tarantino. Still,
Giraldo gives it a hedonistic club kid vibe totally unlike the talkie lowlife
gangster milieu of indie dweeb-god’s films.
Though the constant flashes forwards and back sound annoying as a
migraine, Giraldo handles them quite deftly, often focusing on some nice
character establishing bits, while supplying more pieces to the narrative
Sarmiento Vallejo gets it, playing Zico, the unstable mastermind, to the hilt. Angelica Blandon is also pretty spot on as her
namesake, the flirtatious and petit pseudo-femme fatale. Conversely, though he might be playing the
muscle, Alejandro Aguilar is a weak presence as Rincon, which is a drawback,
considering he has the heaviest character development arc.
Nonetheless, Giraldo packs a lot of style and
energy into 180, but never to the
point that it substitutes for substance.
In recent years, some of the best Latin American films have come from Colombia,
such as Ciro Guerra’s The Wind Journeys and
Jorge Navas’s dynamite noir morality play Blood and Rain. While not quite at the
level of the latter, 180 is still an
impressively executed crime drama. Recommended
for those who appreciate the grittier side of the heist genre or closely follow
Colombian cinema, 180 Seconds screens
this Friday night (8/17) at the Chelsea Clearview as part of the 2012 NY Latino
Labels: Colombian Cinema, Heist Movies, NY Latino Film Festival