Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Film Review: The Distinguished Citizen


A self-righteous Spaniard wanders aimlessly around the Argentinian countryside for 117 minutes; that’s not the only thing left to wander however, when you find yourself wondering what on Earth its all about.

Daniel Mantovani (Oscar Martinez) is a world-renowned writer and esteemed scholarly figure; after being awarded a Nobel Prize for literature, Daniel retreats into self-imposed isolation, abject at his own inability to challenge readers now that his work is so celebrated. 

Like Alexander the Great weeping for there were no more worlds to conquer, Daniel is at a crossroads in life when he decides to journey back to the Argentinian backwater village where he grew up, presumably in an attempt to gain perspective and stay humble.

From here, Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat’s dramedy follows a rather familiar fish-out-of-water template; revered by the simple townsfolk, Daniel finds himself surrounded by eager friends and distant relations who are certain his work is based on their kooky personalities and threadbare lives. 

The screenplay toys with the idea of the artist and the notion of being a stranger amongst friends, but only scratches the surface. After two hours of following Daniel through numerous speeches and photo ops, I felt like we never truly got to explore his motivations in detail. 

Instead the film concerns itself the small-town squabbles and petty jealousies of old flame Irene (Andrea Frigerio) and childhood friend Antonio (Dady Brieva). It certainly doesn’t help that the production design and technical elements struggle to elevate the weak material with flat and drab framing, surroundings and an overall boring visual aesthetic. 
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The Verdict: 4.5/10


The Distinguished Citizen is next to indistinguishable from a no-frills TV project, with little cinematic flair or energy brought to the screen.

The Distinguished Citizen is screening as part of 20th Spanish Film Festival from April 27 to May 17.

This review was originally published over at Hooked on Film, a Perth based website where you can find even more new release movie reviews, features, interviews and insight. Click here to check it out.

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