Soroche

Directed by Marco Matheus | Review by Prarthana Mitra

Soroche is not the kind of film you’re likely to forget easily. It keeps you on the edge of your seats throughout the entire course, transporting you back and forth between scenic locales, neon-lit dance floors and sinister backrooms, charting the trajectory of events which precede the opening scene.

The film opens on a snowy landscape with nothing but miles of snow around, with this young shaggy twenty-something we later come to know is Eddie. Lying unconscious in a pool of blood around his head, when Eddie comes around, he can no longer remember who he is, nor does he recognize his accomplices, also knocked out stone cold on the ground beside him.

As he manages to regain his wits and sets off aimlessly on foot to find answers, he pieces together flashes of feelings and memories and that is how the rest of the film becomes a journey for him, and a quest for the audience, curious to know about the chain of events.
Told in reverse, the film is set across Bolivia, Brazil and Chile and presents the possibility of a new kind of crime thriller for the South American audience. Using Hollywood techniques and juxtaposing classic tropes against a Latinx background, the film underscores how mastery of the thriller form and genre is not exclusive to the Coen Brothers, Tarantino and Hitchcock. Incidentally, Soroche refers to Vertigo (altitude sickness).

In director Marco Matheus’ own words, “If even American industry is using such cameras [Canon DSLR, 75D, 5D] how come we don’t use them as well!” Soroche’s strongest suit, however, is the luridly non-linear storytelling, accompanied by excellent urban and natural cinematography by Cesar Spadella. Wide establishing shots on the La Paz, Atacama Desert and Salar de Uyuni set the tone of the movie which caps off at a little over an hour.

Over the course of this hour, a romance plot develops alongside the criminal underplot. Eddie (Diogo Jordão) meets Moon (Ferdi Gi) and falls in love with the sultry night-bar singer. He is eventually drawn into the orbits of two dangerous kingpins, one Fernando Pessoa whose law firm he used to work at, and a retired matador Cobra who entrusts him with a shady job. Played to the hilt by veteran actors Roberto Marchese and Thaide, these antagonists depict the dark underbelly rife with crime, gore and jealousy.

Reluctant to take it up at first, Eddie is compelled to make a choice to avail of Cobra’s services in return, to eliminate Moon’s abusive former lover. Eddie’s love for Lady Moon is quite evident and at first it seems like she too cares deeply about him. They share many a passionate moment, but it soon becomes clear that something other than love might motivate Moon. Despite warnings from friends and foes, Eddie continues to put his life on the line, and in a dramatic turn of events, is brought to the snowy landscape where the film opens, trapped by his own desires and personal ambitions.

The colors, edits and production add immense value to the film, which happens to be Matheus’ first project begun in 2012, and developed along the way with his incredibly talented cast and crew. The novelty of this film lies in its soundtrack, which uses a lot of electronic and techno beats even in the scenes you would least expect it. Although jarring at first, the contrariness of house music blasting in the desert at a profound moment is not lost on the viewer, who is, by this time, completely immersed in Eddie’s story. The film successfully and effortlessly incorporates several social-cultural, economic and political elements that are specific to life in Latin America, by painting a poignant picture of those who are dealt a bad hand by life.

 

Prarthana-Mitra

Prarthana is presently in between odd jobs and obtaining her master’s degree in literature. She loves modern poetry and meditative cinema. Based out of Calcutta, Prarthana observes people, football, films and enjoys writing about all three. Of late, she relates to Frank Ocean’s music. Her writing experience consists of writing for various sites such as Try Cinema, The Indian Economist, Doing The Rondo, Saintbrush and various academic journals.