"Ensayo de un crimen" (The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz), released in 1955, is a darkly comedic crime drama directed by renowned Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel. The film tells the story of Archibaldo de la Cruz, a man who becomes obsessed with committing the perfect crime after an encounter with a mysterious music box during his childhood. As the film unfolds, we follow Archibaldo through a series of near-murders, where his attempts to carry out his sinister plans are continually thwarted by unexpected circumstances.
"Ensayo de un crimen" is a prime example of Buñuel's unique style and his ability to blend surrealism, social satire, and dark humor. The film is full of symbolic imagery and dreamlike sequences that delve into the mind of its protagonist, revealing his twisted desires and impulses. Buñuel's direction is both precise and imaginative, using clever editing techniques and visual storytelling to create a compelling and engaging narrative.
The lead performance by Ernesto Alonso as Archibaldo de la Cruz is captivating, effectively conveying the character's charming yet dangerous personality. Alonso's portrayal of Archibaldo's obsession and frustration is both humorous and unsettling, making him a fascinating anti-hero to follow throughout the film.
The supporting cast, including Miroslava as Carlota, Rita Macedo as Lavinia, and Ariadna Welter as Patricia, deliver strong performances, adding depth and intrigue to the story. The dynamics between the characters are well-developed and contribute to the film's overall sense of tension and unpredictability.
Cinematographer Agustín Jiménez does an excellent job capturing the film's eerie and surreal atmosphere. The black-and-white visuals are crisp and striking, creating a sense of contrast that adds to the film's overall impact. The production design and costumes, by Edward Fitzgerald and Georgette Somohano respectively, are also top-notch, evoking the film's 1950s setting and heightening its darkly comedic tone.
The screenplay, co-written by Luis Buñuel and Eduardo Ugarte, is well-structured and filled with witty dialogue and intriguing plot developments. The film's exploration of themes such as obsession, desire, and the fine line between fantasy and reality provides plenty of material for thought and discussion.
The only minor drawback to "Ensayo de un crimen" is that its pacing can feel somewhat slow at times, particularly in the middle of the film. However, this does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the movie and its engaging storyline.
In conclusion, "Ensayo de un crimen" is a masterfully crafted crime drama that showcases Luis Buñuel's distinct style and vision. With its blend of surrealism, dark humor, and strong performances, this film is a captivating and thought-provoking experience that is well worth watching.