Mexican director Michel Franco (New Order, Chronic) has made an engrossing and enigmatic film set in Acapulco where a wealthy English family is enjoying a holiday in luxurious surroundings. This ends abruptly with phone calls concerning the illness and then death of someone loved.
Neil (Tim Roth) and Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and two teenage children hurriedly pack and rush to the airport – where Neil, saying he has left his passport behind, encourages the family to go on without him, while he goes back to find it.
He instructs a taxi driver to take him to a hotel, any hotel, and is taken to a crummy place near the beach on the seedier side of town, where he spends his time drinking beer and lolling about on a deck chair on the beach.
Then he develops a loving and sexual relationship with a young Mexican bar girl, Bernice (Iazria Larios), ignoring repeated phone calls from England from people concerned about his absence.
It transpires that in England the family have a fortune from their ownings in the meat industry but Neil shows no interest in anything other than his present lifestyle, and is happy to sign away his share in favour of someone else in the family.
Meantime, he has hallucinations about pigs and lights in the sky. It would seem that he has the medical condition of sundowning, a neurological disorder, and has difficulty in separating reality from dreams.
There is much to puzzle about in this intriguing film, enhanced by great cinematography and a strong performance of Tim Roth. It won’t appeal to everyone. It takes some time to work out what is going on.
Showing at Luna Leederville from May 19
Watch the trailer…