One evening, while looking at what film I wanted to watch on Netflix, I came across the Spanish film A Perfect Day . What caught my attention with this film is that there is Benicio del Toro that appears on the poster of the film and this is a comedy film. After seeing himself playing in a collection of very serious films ( Traffic , Sicario ), I naturally wondered how he played in a comedy film. And A Perfect Day did not disappoint, and I really have to thank Benicio del Toro for making me watch this film.
A Perfect Day is set in 1995 "at a location in the Balkans" following a group of volunteers at the end of the Bosnian war. Mambrú (Benicio del Toro) is one of the volunteers told, and at the beginning of the film he is transporting a body from a well with his translator, Damir (Fedja Štukan). While being lifted, the rope used to transport the mysterious corpse from the well broke. It was still very bright, and plans were not going their way. The day didn't go perfectly.
Other volunteers mentioned are B (Tim Robbins), a volunteer who seems to have been doing what he has been doing for years, and Sophie (Mélanie Thierry), who is still new to this volunteer group. While driving, the two of them found a cow's corpse lying in the middle of the road which was a landmine trap. Going left or right, B thought while Sophie was already panicking. What is being done? B breaks through the cow because he doesn't want to risk the right or the left.
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The story of volunteers working in the midst of war is indeed a comedy goldfield, although I rarely find stories like this in any other focus. And the use of dark comedy by Fernando León de Aranoa (writer and director) in A Perfect Day is perfect, being able to not only evoke laughter in the middle of scenes that shouldn't be funny but also add tension to the film. This is not a comedy film where the joke bluntly pops up in the face of the audience.
One example of a scene that supports my statement is when Damir and B found their way was blocked by UN (UN) troops. While they were waiting for the block to be unblocked, there was an old woman walking with her cow near them. The soldiers shouted at the woman that the area was not safe because of the many landmines. But the woman was walking behind her cow, something that made Damir say that it was very clever. It was a scene that seemed ridiculous at first glance, but the longer we were in that scene the greater the discomfort that arose within me because of the sense of danger that always creeps in the scene.
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Then the other thing that makes me really like this film, of course, is the performance of Benicio del Toro who is able to play his character who is seen between boredom and enthusiasm with his work. Even some of his scenes are able to bring humor to the film, while some other scenes with him can bring the horror of war. His face, which is flat and already looks tired, really fits the dark comedile of this film. He really has to play more dark and clever comedy films like this, because I will definitely be excited about it.
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Fernando León de Aranoa is truly great at mixing the cheerful tone and the impression of a road movie in a film by following a group of our volunteers in dark and sinister tones as they show the consequences of a war on an area. The two nuances are not really easy to mix up, and in 100 minutes he with a genuinely clever script was able to make a film that didn't take what he was telling too seriously and produced a film that could cleverly change the tone of the story quickly.
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Overall my experience watching A Perfect Day was fun, but there were a few scenes that threw me out of the story. One thing that bothers me is Marilyn Manson's use of the music "Sweet Dreams" in one of his darkest scenes. The film loves to use rock music as its soundtrack and most of it fits, but that scene and the song "Sweet Dreams" don't feel quite right. The supposedly creepy scene mixed with the inspirational tone injected from the song, resulting in a baffling scene.
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The drawback is very small because of how much fun this film runs. Not only from the interesting story, the very beautiful and clear cinematography by Alex Catalán to all the main characters who managed to bring the comedy and drama of a war to life: Benicio del Toro, Mélanie Thierry, Tim Robbins and Fedja Štukan, A Perfect Day is an original film. Spain that is worth watching.
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