Love, Pain & Vice Versa

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**** (Four stars)
Mexican director Alfonso Pineda-Ulloa aims high with his feature debut, a dreamy thriller that evokes both the psychological suspense of Alfred Hitchcock and the fatalistic passion of Pedro Almodóvar. Leading lady Chelo (Bárbara Mori), a lonely thirtysomething architect, rebuffs her friends’ attempts to set her up, instead losing herself in a relationship with an unnamed paramour (Leonardo Sbaraglia) who haunts her daydreams. But as Chelo’s imaginary lover start popping up in her waking life, she realizes her fantasy may be more of a nightmare. The frequent switching of realities and perspectives could prove tiresome in another filmmaker’s hands, but Pineda-Ulloa keeps the action taut even as the film careens toward its inevitable—and horrific—conclusion.—Dan Avery, Around Town editor

[This is a TONY staff review, written for the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It is not considered an official review and should not be read as such. Please think of it as a casual impression from a movie-loving friend.] 

Release details

Duration: 86 mins

Cast and crew