I Recently had the chance to view the new movie from Ernesto Diaz Espinoza one of the most prolific fantastic fest filmmaker, Santiago Violenta. This movie is a change from the usual type of movie he makes as this is more of a dark comedy and not his usual action movies.
The movie is about 3 friends (Broco, Mauro, and Noel) that have been making home movie since they were little kids in Santiago, Chile. They especially like crime films and their biggest inspiration being the films of Quentin Tarantino. Broco the leader of the group is the filmmaker and narrator in all their movies. He is constantly coming up with ideas for their next movie, but has not gotten a break to make a living from it. Presently he is stuck filming wedding videos to make money. The biggest problem is that he is not the best wedding videographer. He likes to shoot them like a jackass video. Mauro, the handsome lead in all their movies and the most successful of them in life, he is working for a firm and set to marry to a handsome daughter of his boss. One of the running jokes about him is that he might be in the closet. Noel, who is the bravest of the group, he doesn’t hesitate to face risk to help out his friends.
One night while out having a night of drinks they come across a drug deal that goes wrong and they end up with the merchandise, Broco decides to investigate more about this deal and shoot a movie around their investigation. This brings them into the criminal underworld of Santiago, which is more dangerous than anything, they seen in movies. They quickly learn they are way over their head when they come in conflict with criminals.
This is a love letter from Ernesto to 70’s Italian Crime Film; you can see it from the clothes, the music and even the cinematography from the movie. Santiago Violenta has dark comedy style; things get really dark really fast in this movie. Santiago Violenta is also his most Chilean movie Espinoza has ever made. The tagline for this movie is a story of pistolas and Piscolas, which is native Chilean drink. You are also exposed to a lot of the Latin pop culture which you will only recognize if you grew up in Latin America.
You get a lot of laughs from this movie of watching this bumbling friends meeting this really tough criminals, while at the same time they are trying to shoot their film. It also has this big unfolding mystery in story which will keep your attention. I should also mention a character in the movie of a lounge singer called Marylyn. She has really funny scenes in the movie.
This is a great change of pace for Ernesto Diaz Espinoza as he shows he can’t only do action, but can also do comedy. I am glad he is not afraid is going out of his comfort zone of film and he can make fun exploitation films. I’m looking forward to see more crime films like this one from Ernesto.