Veronica Movie Review
Written by Daniel Evans
Released by Producciones A Ciegas
Directed by Carlos Algara and Alejandro Martinez-Beltran
Written by Carlos Algara and Tomas Nepomuceno
2017, 81 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest European premiere on 25th August 2017
Olga Segura as Veronica de la Serna
Sofía Garza as Veronica's Mother
Arcelia Ramírez as The Psychologist
“I don’t know you...and you don’t know me”
At first glance, the bleak black and white images and brittle opening shots of burdensome mountain clouds and fathomless forests, seem as though you’re sitting down to watch another frozen Nordic thriller. This is, in fact, a Mexican production, and it’s quite unlike any Mexican film you’re ever likely to see, like if David Lynch decided to make a buddy cop comedy set entirely on Miami Beach, it’s that far removed from what has come before. Veronica joins Luis Buñuel’s contributions to Mexican cinema in the '40s and '50s and Alejandro Jodorowski’s kaleidoscopic visions in the '70s as one of the real oddities of Mexican cinema.
Coming out of retirement, an unnamed psychologist decides to take on the case of Veronica, a sullen, disturbed woman who, for the duration of her treatment, has to remain with the psychologist in her woodland home. With ominous silence circling outside and only each other for company, work begins. As the sessions progress and we delve deeper into Veronica’s past, she lets her mask slip only slightly each time and however far the psychologist mines for answers and clues, Veronica seems to punish her with intense mind games, designed to ever so slightly fray the ends. The film keeps a steady dreary rhythm throughout as Veronica penetrates into the mind of her psychologist, who seemingly loses more a grip on the fragile wires of reality as the days deepen, into one motionless dance of death.
Veronica is a shattering portrait of the sub conscious; its layers mixing into each other, like paint slowly merging together on canvas. As one thing seems clear, several other things blur. The film removes itself from static, edgy beginnings into bewildered psycho thriller as the secrets continue to be dredged up from within, and the two figures circle each other like two fighting, spitting cobras. Sheds, warehouses, cabins all feature, and each seems to house a deep clandestine secret. The psychologist’s house is her outer shell and is clean and almost serene, (although several scenes seem almost gothic, like a cross between Repulsion and The Innocents) but her cluttered, chaotic shed is the opposite. It acts as her sub conscious, and whereas the house is open for most to see, the other has a hefty padlock barring the outside world from entering. Shot in crisp, haunted, beautiful black and white, Veronica does not follow a typical plot line, and that may detract some from it. It’s a slow burning tale of manipulation, identity, and repressed sexuality, where the characters wade into the swampland of their troubled psyches to eventually sink, splutter and drown.
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