The Spanish film, Amigo, is a short, psychological drama that traps the viewer in a remote, snowstorm-locked home. There, two lifelong friends confront each other following a disastrous accident, and face the road to recovery and beyond.
Javi (Javier Botet) was almost crippled in an accident. His overly thin, long body is covered in the remembrances and scars of the event. At the same time, his friend David (David Pareja) suffered minor injuries. But one of them was to his head, requiring medication, which is running out and no way to get more in the storm.
As both personalities begin to fray, dark secrets and blame for the past come to the fore. Is David seeing things, or is it the lack of medication? Is Javi as sick as he seems? Or is he planning to strike out at David or if the pain and the environment is skewing everything around them?
It pleasantly surprised me how much I enjoyed this film because the trailer and the brief didn’t do it justice.
Botet came up with the original story, which he turned into a script alongside Pareja and the film’s director Oscar Martin. At an hour and twenty minutes, the film doesn’t overstay its welcome. And it doles out just enough story to hook the viewer. It also makes one wonder at the personal events that shaped and drove the characters to the seemingly inescapable climax of the film.
With the onset of the snowstorm that keeps them sequestered at the home, the film dances around the edges of claustrophobia with a healthy dose of paranoia mixed in. You’re not quite sure who to trust. You’re also not sure if there some to lay the blame on, or if there’s hope of redemption for both characters.
The use of Ave Maria, Christmas imagery, and other television shows (and movies) hint at possibilities throughout the story. As it designs a number of these possibilities to put the viewer on edge, one works brilliantly.
For cynical North American horror and thriller fans, Amigo may seem a little too quiet, a little too slow. It’s also more interested in pontification than drawing everything out in straight easily discovered narratives. I found that refreshing as I discovered the characters and their motivations, enjoying the shifting dynamics as events play out.
Amigo is an intriguing and enjoyable watch. It’s a fascinating examination of friendship, and how it ties us together even through life’s turns and choices. And some of these choices may be more than destructive.