Rage: A Taut but Not Quite Tingly Pseudo-Ghost Story


The Torres family, faded Spanish aristocrats, live in the ancestral estate where almost all of Rage, Sebastián Cordero’s taut but not quite tingly pseudo-ghost-story, is set. The Torres mansion has good bones but is crumbling at the margins; Rage has something of the opposite problem. Rosa (Martina García) and José María (Gustavo Sánchez Parra), both natives of South America, are a newly christened couple when the film begins. A live-in maid at the Torres residence, Rosa is a servant-class stoic, while construction worker José María’s rage flares early and often, if only when Rosa is insulted by Spanish men. When his second outburst leads to murder, José María becomes an uninvited guest in the Torres home, unbeknown to all but the marauding rats in the long-abandoned attic. Cordero combines bravura camerawork and fleet pacing to illuminate his themes and animate the Torres home, where José María watches over Rosa—herself a ghostly presence who haunts sumptuous dinners from the door frame and who seems to drift out of her body when Torres Junior threatens her. And yet the structuring allegory’s invocation of familial bonds and immigrant burdens grows stilted: It doesn’t collapse this delicate film, but it can’t quite hold it up, either.

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