Mexico’s Maestro of the Feel-Bad Pities His Monsters


Arturo Ripstein’s Deep Crimson is a dark tango transposing the true story of the Lonely Hearts Killers—inspiration for the cult classic The Honey-moon Killers—to 1940s Mexico. A fading gigolo and the obese nurse who adores him ruthlessly prey upon a succession of vulnerable widows. Built like an R. Crumb ingenue or an old DeSoto, the nurse Coral (Regina Orozco) is a fantastic creature—indolent, slovenly, inept, selfish, yearning for love and reeking of the morgue. As the love of her life, the madly profiling Daniel Giménez Cacho is no less knowingly stylized. Mexico’s maestro of the feel-bad, Ripstein thrives on dysfunctional families and sexual degradation. But Deep Crimson is something rarer than an alienated saga of mad love or an accomplished black comedy—this is a convincing movie about evil, with vanity and greed the deadliest of sins. At once svelte and savage, it inspires a certain awe. Ripstein pities his monsters and dares us to feel for them.