The Motive: Movie Review

28693Thanks to the open air cinema of my city I have seen The motive (El autor), the 2017 movie directed by Manuel Martín Cuenca of whom I hadn’t seen anything before. The movie takes place in Seville, Andalucía, and one of its strengths is certainly the cast: Adelfa Calvo, Antonio De la Torre, and especially the fantastic Javier Gutiérrez.

The plot is simple: Álvaro (Gutiérrez) is obsessed with writing a quality novel but despite years of courses and failed attempts it seems that he doesn’t have the talent to do it. As if that wasn’t enough, his wife Amanda (María León) writes a book inspired by their terrible relationship which becomes a very successful bestseller despite its poor quality. Suddenly alone and without a job, Álvaro finally begins to follow the advice of his teacher Juan (the extremely funny De la Torre) and starts writing about the real people surrounding him: the custodian of the place where he lives, his Mexican neighbors who live in front of him, and the retired old man who lives above him. The problem is that in order for his story to be as interesting as possible, Álvaro manipulates all these people with both tragic and dramatic consequences…

What can I say about this movie? The plot is very good, which not particularly surprising since it is based on the book El móvil written by the great Javier Cercas (Soldados de Salamina, Anatomía de un instante…). The actors worked well, with the right tone between drama and comedy, especially the protagonist (Gutiérrez is really good, as proven in La isla mínima2014, as well: in fact he has obtained two Goyas thanks to these two performances). And there are many cool parts in which we see how a writer should work, how he should give life to his characters, and how he should create a story. But…

…the director unfortunately didn’t do a good job. The movie lacks rhythm and there are many scenes that either are too long or could be cut out of the movie altogether. The use of the camera left me speechless: it seems that the director doesn’t know how to shoot dialogue scenes! There are even scenes in which the director broke the 180 degrees rule, and he did it for no dramatic/stylish reasons… incredible! There is almost no soundtrack, something else that doesn’t help much. And after two hours we are left with a very interesting character, the obsessed protagonist, and little else, which ironically goes against the writing lessons that we witness in the movie itself.

I recommend watching the movie because the plot is very cool, but in reality I think that it could be better to read the book by Javier Cercas. Ciao!


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