'The Aura'

Taxidermist at gunpoint: Ricardo Darin
IFC Films
Taxidermist at gunpoint: Ricardo Darin


The Aura
Directed by Fabin Bielinsky
IFC First Take, opens November 17, IFC Center
The nameless recluse at the center of this noirish thriller, written and directed by the late Argentine filmmaker Fabián Bielinsky ( Nine Queens), is a mass of contradictions. An epileptic taxidermist with a photographic memory, he is so emotionally detached from the world around him that he never smiles and barely speaks, yet he harbors a pronounced superiority complex. He shrinks from guns and hunting but watches impassively as men are shot dead. Convinced he can commit the perfect robbery, the taxidermist takes advantage of a criminal opportunity that soon spirals out of control. A hypnotic unease hangs over the film, due partly to Checco Varese's widescreen lensing, which dwarfs the characters against their bucolic but menacing woodland surroundings; partly to the constant hum of Lucio Godoy's murmuring piano-driven score; and partly to the unsettling central performance of Ricardo Darín as a character both off-putting and sympathetic—and impossible to read.

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