For fans of curvy psychological thrillers, Palabras Encadenadas is a must see. The story of a disturbed college professor running cat-n-mouse games on his shrill, calculating ex-wife is cleverly written and executed. Opening scenes lead you down one path, mid-story scenes lead you down another, foreshadowing deliberately obfuscates the truth. The ending caught me off guard.
Pedro Almadovar meets Alfred Hitchcock production make use of tight zooms, shadow and visual insinuation to con the viewer into accepting plausible motives and outcomes until the sheer magnitude of possibilities causes a system halt. Scenes of suspense bordering on horror are juxtaposed with sedate classroom activities, which are paced beautifully to create a stronger sense of tension.
Acting is ok from most of the cast but Argentina’s Dario Grandinetti owns this film from start to finish. He easily morphs from playing a passionate, vindictive ex-lover to an emotionally-vacant serial killer. You just won’t know which identity is true until the last two minutes.
Fair warning, some scenes are hard to watch, however those are few and far between. In the end I felt like I’d been on a 90-minute roller coaster ride. And like most momentum junkies, I’m queuing up for another.