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January 19, 2017

Solo

by Franz Patrick


Solo (2013)
★ / ★★★★

Having just ended his previous relationship, Manuel (Patricio Ramos) visits a chatroom with the intention of hooking up with another guy around the area. Julio (Mario Verón) agrees to meet with him and the two appear too hit off immediately. But after being intimate, Manuel begins to suspect that the man he picked up might be lying about who he is and the circumstances surrounding their chance meeting.

“Solo” is a would-be mystery-thriller that is overlong and occasionally laughable. The plot likens that of pornography with bad dialogue sandwiched between physical softcore-porn intimacy. While the two performers do share a bit of chemistry, they do not stand a chance against a ridiculous script and lackadaisical direction.

The house where the majority of the movie takes place looks like a film studio. When the two characters converse, which is filled with platitudes, I found myself noticing the non-lived in state of the tables, chairs, and television. Because the items and other knickknacks surrounding the two leads are not convincing, we are all the more detached from what is supposed to be happening. We do not buy into the story being told.

Writer-director Marcelo Briem Stamm fails to establish a taut and convincing rising action that serves as a segue between drama and psychological thriller. And so when the picture crosses to the latter genre, we are not invested in what is unfolding. Instead, we feel like we are being played with and we come up with ways to outsmart the material. And let me tell you: my mind came up with more creative scenarios than what is eventually unveiled.

Perhaps the picture’s biggest weakness is its dialogue. It is highly repetitive and so when certain lines come up more than once, it is a surefire signal that it will be important later on. People with an IQ higher than 50 are likely able to predict the generic twist. It offers absolutely nothing new to the dramatic thriller sub-genre. Why make it at all?

It might have worked as a commentary of the dangers of online hook-ups. However, the film is neither satirical nor serious enough to directly acknowledge the issue. It is a shame because real adults get hurt, get duped, and get diseases because they do not take the necessary precautions as long as an itch gets satisfied.

“Solo” shows nothing profound or stimulating. It just exists and, sadly, there are audiences for movies like this. We deserve better.

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