No Light, But Lots of Thrills At the End of the Tunnel

#VIFF17 Capsule Movie Review – At the End of the Tunnel

Director Rodrigo Grande and lead actor Leonardo Sbaraglia strip Hitchcock down to the studs in this clever thriller that throws the viewer down a moral staircase

At The End of the Tunnel

(Al Final del Tunel)

3.5/5

Starring: Leonardo Sbraraglia, Pablo Echarri, Clara Lago, Javier Godino, Federico Luppi

Directed by: Rodrigo Grande

Running time: 120 mins

In Spanish with English subtitles

By Katherine Monk

A bank heist, government corruption and love affair with a femme fatale ensure this Argentine- Spanish co-production meets the acid test for film noir, but the having the protagonist in a wheelchair is what makes Rodrigo Grande’s thriller such a tense treat — in addition to a sly ode to Alfred Hitchcock.

Throw in a geriatric dog, and you have more empathy than the formula really demands — which gives this modern-day glimpse into amorality an uneven gait. There’s almost too much humanity in the eyes of our hero, Joaquin (Leonardo Sbraraglia) to fit the noir mould.

Watching the world from his wheeled perch in his multi-level home, Joaquin has a knack for fixing electronics. He tools around in his basement making gadgets, but when he hears things through the walls, he starts eavesdropping with covert technology and stumbles into an elaborate bank heist.

At the very same time, he takes in a sexy female lodger and her daughter.

Though some of the plot is self-revealing and the rest seems to stick to genre lines and the frame of Rear Window, there’s still a lingering sense of the unknown and the unpredictable that keeps At the End of the Tunnel on a taut line. People in the film are capable of unimaginable cruelty, authority is unreliable, and something deep within the human character is smashed beyond all recognition.

Yet, in the darkest heart of noir there’s still a flicker of a fight, a will for redemption, and a compelling need to keep going. Grande’s film doesn’t promise light or the divine by the journey’s finale, just an end. In this context, it’s a welcome act of mercy — as well as a surprisingly entertaining ending.

@katherinemonk

THE EX-PRESS, October 12, 2017

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Review: At the End of the Tunnel

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Summary

3.5Score

Leonardo Sbaraglia stars as Joaquin, a wheelchair bound electronics wizard who ends up spying on a band of bank robbers in this Spanish-language homage to Rear Window. The movie pushes the needle of morality into the red zone, but director Rodrigo Grande never promised light at the end of this tunnel. He only promises an end. It's noir without any expectations of divine salvation, which may be the most honest treatment yet. -- Katherine Monk

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