This isn’t a serial-killer flick, but it starts like one, with a murderer-rapist fleeing a crime through a dark field of sunflowers, and, a little later, trying to strike again. Then he’s gone and we have geologist Esteban (Carmelo Gómez), partner of the woman we just saw nearly raped, arriving in a rural village to survey a cave. Then it’s back to another character: old misanthrope, Cecilio (Cesáreo Estébanez), whom Esteban assumes attacked his girlfriend and confronts with bloody consequences. Then another – a dissatisfied local policeman – and another – Cecilio’s neighbour – and finally police chief Amadeo (Celso Bugallo), tracking the effects of the opening violence as they ripple outward. The six perspectives compel, thwarting easy identification and urging the understanding the characters lack, though the story takes on too many Spanish cinematic obsessions – individuals thrust together, rural decline, internecine violence – and flounders in weak ideas. Nevertheless, this is a clever, surprising work from first-time director Sánchez-Cabezudo: when the killer makes his anticipated return, it’s not how you expect – and proves all the more unsettling for it.
Cast and crew