Sunday, 3 November 2013

Review - Painless (2012 - Dir. Juan Carlos Medina)

Ah, things are starting to pick up. This is similar in style to The Devil's Backbone. It is split between modern times and ye olden days, from about 1930 to 1960, so it manages to cover the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Intriguingly, the story centres around a group of children who can't feel any pain (great for trips to the dentist and bum cavity biopsies) and a modern day fellow, David, who has a life threatening disease. He tries to find a cure but comes across a few problems. The children meanwhile are locked in an asylum to protect others and themselves. The mystery then is how the two stories are linked.

It has a gentle pace but answers are slowly revealed to keep the interest, and I was engaged all the way through. This is helped by a strong central performance by Àlex Brendemühl as David. He plays it with an intensity that shows the strength of his desire to find the truth. The two main children do a great job too despite them not having much to say. 

Watching something with a bit of a budget was quite pleasant for a change. Not that it's mainstream by any stretch of the imagination. It gets very dark by the end (and not in the way that each subsequent Harry Potter film was described as 'darker', Potter never executed anyone with a pistol, though things would have been improved immeasurably if he'd taken out Dobby). Where was I? Oh yeah, it gets dark. And it's got a great ending too; visually and emotionally powerful.

After I'd seen this I thought that it was good although I wasn't that bothered about watching it again. But it seems to be one of those films that gets under my skin and demands further viewings. It could well end up on my list to Santa next year. Best film of the festival so far.

If you like this you could also try:
The Devil's Backbone, Pan's Labyrinth.



  1. Definitely liking the sound of this one best from this first batch.

    1. I think you'd probably like this one. Since the festival this is the one that's stuck with me.

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