Review: Jesús (2016)

Life between extremes.

by Antonio Cabello

Review of Jesús (2016), directed by Fernando Guzzoni. Chile.

Jesús is a movie about an 18 year old kid and everything that goes with it; see, for example, his relationship (or attempted relationship) with his father, as well as the coming-of-age maturity plot involving sex, violence and the passing of time.

Here we have the second feature film of Fernando Guzzoni, the Chilean filmmaker that reaped appraise at the San Sebastián Film Festival with his debut Dog Meat (Carne de perro, 2012). It’s surprising how within the year of 2016 the world saw so many movies from so many different geographical latitudes that dialogue so well between each other: Park (Sofia Exarchou from Greece), Sing Street  (John Carney from the UK), Heartstone (Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson from Iceland) and American Honey (Andrea Arnold from the UK). Add Jesús to the batch.

Amid dancing with a K-Pop band and other daliances in public parks, Jesús (Nicolás Durán) tries to find feeling as he goes through what we usually call adolescence, a vital period built between two extremes. And yes, as the movie goes to show, adolescence is also the time when we finally begin to comprehend the irreversible nature of our actions and decisions. Only then do we become aware of the pain, the sadness or the joy we can feel and instill.

It’s a real shame though Guzzoni centers so much on everything preceding the punch, because he calls it quits way too soon and right as the consequences of what should’ve been the epicenter of the movie unfold. Consequences that would’ve helped deepen the issue of hostility that dominates the picture, as well as giving a bigger emphasis on the themes of innocence and guilt.

With some noteworthy performances from Durán and Alejandro Goic in the lead roles and a structure that is extremely conditioned by its inspiration on real events, Jesús creates a dirty and aggresive drama for a spectator that never fully gets into the game the movie proposes.

TonioAntonio Cabello / Writer (Jaén, Spain – 1993) Producer and editor for Fremantlemedia Spain on TV shows, he studied journalism and audiovisual communication at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. He also studied poetry, humanism and film criticism. Five years ago he founded Esencia Cine, for which he has covered the Cannes and San Sebastián film festivals. Life is time.

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