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Ben Austwick [Film Festival 05.05.10] movie review scifi

Year: 2010
Directors: Rodrigo Ordoñez
Writers: Rodrigo Ordoñez
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Ben Austwick
Rating: 4 out of 10

With a promising premise that examines the moral and human rights implications of cloning, Depositarios could have been an intelligent piece of science fiction. Its murky, special effects-free presentation at first hints at a deep, thoughtful movie. But as the minutes tick by, nothing particularly happens and the story gets more and more confusing, it gradually dawns that Depositarios is going to be a very disappointing experience.

In a future Mexico everyone has a twin grown alongside them in the womb, twins who are later warehoused in vats where they spend their lives acting as a depositary for the ill-health and unhappy thoughts of their siblings. Largely believed to be devoid of intelligence and feeling, these depositarios are nonetheless hidden from view, the undiscussed secret behind a happy society.

It's an interesting idea, reminiscent of the school of clones grown for their organs in Kazuo Ishiguro's brilliant science fiction novel Never Let Me Go; and Depositarios' main storyline, where a woman's depositario is stolen and cared for by her ex-boyfriend, could have brought some meaning to the concept. Unfortunately it gets so bogged down in a soap opera of countless characters and sub-plots it becomes difficult to tell what's going on at all.

This isn't helped by some frankly appalling subtitling. When a character called La Rata is translated as The Mouse you know you're in trouble. Towards the end of the film some lines - “Open up, or we'll use the force” and “it's a freakin slaughtery” - offered humorous respite from a film that was seriously trying my patience, but also rendered the dialogue difficult to follow in an already confusing film. Depostarios is still in production so hopefully this quite major problem will be sorted out, but I'm not sure how much help that will be given the film's rambling, unfocused narrative.

Some visually effective scenes towards the end - including a man killing his own twin in sympathetic disgust and a street covered in naked depositarios dumped in protest - draw your attention back from the brink but hardly make up for the flabby confusion of before. By this time I was laughing so hard at the line “One child is enough to make you shit your pants” that I was actually quite enjoying myself, but hardly for the right reasons. Depositarios is a cheap, boring and badly-made film that wastes some interesting central ideas.

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