The very first minutes of “The Stranger” got me worried as soon as my eyes witnessed “Eli Roth presents” – one of the very few allergens in movie industry to me. Nevertheless, I decided to give Guillermo Amoedo’s English language debut a shot. Telling a story of the titular stranger, who appears in a small town to unbury some forgotten mysteries, the Chilean director is in his elements. “The Stranger” is a well-directed thriller, but delivers nothing but a one-time experience, easy forgettable.
Martin shows up from nowhere asking about his wife in a small town in Canada. Promptly, his existence will be noticed by the citizens, as the man gets involved in a street fight. When he is rescued by a teenager, the boy finds out very quickly what dark secrets should have never been revealed about Martin and his past.
“The Stranger” is amusing in terms of ubiquitous, dark atmosphere. Although the main concept for mysterious stranger appearing from nowhere, who’s hiding an unhuman nature trapped inside, is not anything new – Amoedo turns this story into something quite entertaining. Neither does he provide a hideous bloodshed on the screen nor a boring pseudo-horror flick, which eventually ends up being opaque and lacklustre. On the contrary, he focuses on building up the tension by operating with bleak landscapes and lots, lots of shadow.
Despite this constant digging into darkness, “The Stranger” is struggling to avoid cliches, naivety and unrealism. Especially the police officer (Luis Gnecco) is one hell of an irritating guy – he is as sharp as a bowl of jello and his actions really made me question whether cops are divided into abnormally stupid and incredibly investigative ones (guess which type we deal with in “The Stranger”). Martin’s mysterious role is fun to watch, as his main feature is high unpredictability. Nevertheless, as half of the main plot revolves around the story of the police officer and his son, Martin’s role is somehow lost in between the lines. And it’s the biggest drawback of the whole movie.
I can’t say, that I will surely come back to “The Stranger”, but I’m certain it’s worth following Amoedo’s career. Even though his last year’s flick did not astonish me, it was one of those films, when you start with zero-level expectations. And eventually, as the story goes, the overall experience is not a bad one from watching “The Stranger”. Summarizing, if you’re looking for some light-type entertainment, when being extremely tired in the evening – go ahead, UMP approves.
UMP Grade: 29.5/50
(Cinematography: 7.5, Plot: 6, Acting: 5.5, Soundtrack: 5.5, Quaintness: 5)