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Gael Garcia Bernal attempts political commentary through pool-party drama in his directorial debut, in which he also stars as Cristobal, a wealthy twenty-something gathering friends at his parents’ servant-staffed country house. The results are mixed: tepid squabbling renders the ensemble cast almost entirely unlikable, while the film’s grander focus – social and financial rifts in Latin America – is only hinted at by the appearance of economic Argentine exile Dolores, and the gradual revelation of the absent parents’ own impending financial crisis. In the end it’s too subtle – or possibly slight – and, soapier than intended, the film’s point squirms out of reach.

This text originally appeared in Total Film magazine

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