There's a genuine movie star in this Spanish-made drama---the delicate worrier Gael Garca Bernal, who plays a director mounting a complex Christopher Columbus epic in lush, inexpensive Bolivia. But he's blown offscreen by a hawklike presence, one you simply can't take your eyes off. The guy's a local, Daniel (Aduviri, a Bolivian native), who auditions for the role of rebellious "Indian" Hatuey, making his stand against the conquistadors. Via an impoverished glare, Daniel casts a spell over the crew, whose Fellini-esque neuroses suddenly seem a lot less interesting. Of course, he's perfect for the role.
Even the Rain then modulates, with a fine sense of increasing terror, into a dark political comedy, as an imperious producer (Tosar) one-ups Columbus himself for labor exploitation. Meanwhile, a strike is fomenting in the streets over a corporate water grab; Daniel, a born leader, is on the front lines of the skirmish, jeopardizing his safety and the shoot's completion. Screenwriter Paul Laverty (who's done similarly lefty work for England's Ken Loach) makes his connections a little too baldly, and nearly botches the momentum with a manufactured kid-in-crisis climax. But filmmaker Icar Bollan avoids caricature with several rounded performances---his movie thrums with ambition, if not quite the discovery of a new world.
Watch the trailer