In his day job, Judge Gordon Sullivan badly dubs foreign action films.
Alone they walk. Together they kill.
It seems like, after money (the universal motivator), the other big reason for people to get hurt or killed on film is revenge (which, after all, usually comes down to money). Although it's nothing new (we need only remember Lady Snowblood), female-centered revenge has enjoyed a certain renaissance in the twenty-first century. A lot of that has to do with Quentin Tarantino, who made female vengeance cool again with his Kill Bill and Death Proof flicks. Now Agustin Diaz Yanes offers us not only a female-centered revenge film, but one that features four avenging ladies with Sólo Quiero Caminar. It's a stylish, well-acted romp that can't quite overcome the sense that it's a little too generic.
Sólo Quiero Caminar opens with a bungled robbery by a group of four female crooks. Gloria (Victoria Abril), Paloma (Pilar Lopez de Ayala, and Ana (Elena Anaya) escape while Aurora (Ariadna Gil) gets picked up and put in jail. Eventually, Ana ends up attached to a Mexican drug lord while Paloma and Gloria work to get Aurora out of jail. After Ana realizes that things are not what she had hoped for in Mexico, she calls on her friends to come and right her wrongs.
If Sólo Quiero Caminar has one thing working for it, it's style. The film won an award for its cinematography, and it's not hard to see why. The film takes us from a rich Spanish landscape to the back alleys of Mexico City, and all these locations are rendered in a somewhat dark, noirish style. The film isn't afraid to jump around in time, and the camera isn't afraid to be just as fluid. There are also numerous quick cuts to go along with the slicing up of narrative time. It all adds up to a great-looking flick that can sometimes overcome its problems just by the strength of its visuals.
The film is also helped by strong performances by the central players. All the ladies have to play at least two parts, their criminal selves and whatever else they are (like mother, legal secretary, or prostitute). All of them are convincing throughout, surprisingly so in some of the more vengeance-oriented scenes. Diego Luna and Jose Maria Yazpik play the goons who get Ana to Mexico, and they exude an appropriate amount of slick menace.
On DVD Sólo Quiero Caminar gets a little less than it deserves. The video transfer is fine, presenting the stylish visuals with no significant compression or authoring problems. Because the look of the film changes so much it's not a reference-style transfer. The 5.1 Spanish track is appropriately wide, with a decent use of the surrounds and clear dialogue. The English dub is one of the more horrible I've heard. In addition to dubbing the dialogue, the track reads out the information given on the screen. For instance, early in the film we're told we're in Mexico, D.F., but an annoying voice has to come on and announce "Mexico City." It's really, really bad. Luckily there are English subs on the flick so we don't have to worry about that horrible dub. The lone extra is an interview with director Agustin Diaz Yanes. Since it was in Spanish with no subtitles I don't know how good it is. Speaking of Spanish, this film is being released for the Spanish market, so all of the info on the back is in Spanish.
Sólo Quiero Caminar is certainly stylish. However, it feels far from contemporary. The jumps in narrative time, focus on violence and revenge, and even the use of music in the film seriously harken back to the ultraviolent days of the 1990s, when films like Reservoir Dogs or even Robert Rodriquez's Desperado were bringing visual style and revenge together in tight cinematic packages. This is a really roundabout way of saying that Sólo Quiero Caminar is nothing new, and, for all its style, it doesn't feel particularly innovative. That's not a bad thing necessarily, but the whole film produces the nagging feeling that I've seen it somewhere before.
Sólo Quiero Caminar is justifiably famous in its home country, nominated for a number of awards. I'm not sure it'll play so well here in the US, though. The film certainly has style to spare, but the film also feels like its stuck in the past. The DVD looks good, but there aren't enough extras to tempt those on the fence. It's certainly worth a rental for fans of any of the stars or those with nostalgia for the late '90s, but for everyone else there are probably better thrillers out there.
Sólo Quiero Caminar squeaks by on its style. Not guilty.
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Studio: Maya Entertainment
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