Directed by Álex de la Iglesia
Vitagraph, opens August 19, Landmark Sunshine
Following last year's paella western 800 Bullets, Spanish director de la Iglesia continues his streak of caustic social satires framed as send-ups of Hollywood genre clichés. In the pitch-dark comedy Perfect Crimespelled Ferpect Crime in the opening creditsa smug ladies' man (Guillermo Toledo) accidentally kills his slimy boss and is blackmailed into an affair with the homely colleague who helps dispose of the corpse. The plot's surreal contrivances and flashy movie references render it at once hermetic (most of the action takes place inside an enormous department store) and allusive (Hitchcock and Buñuel quotes abound). And having a butt-ugly female lead (Mónica Cervera) might count as daring, if only de la Iglesia hadn't gone on to self-consciously mock the rule that movie stars must always look unnaturally perfect. At its most ludicrously self-referential, the film achieves the perfect meta-moment when Toledo, seeking pointers on how to get away with murder, buys a copy of Dial M for Murder (released in Spain as Perfect Crime) and notices the title scans incorrectly as Ferpect Crime.