An epilepsy-suffering taxidermist, Esteban Espinoza (Ricardo Darin), plies his solitary trade but dreams of planning and pulling off the perfect crime. He goes on his first-ever hunting trip with his friend Sontag (Alejandro Awada) and accidentally shoots another man in the remote forest. The man turns out to be a real criminal who has grand plans for a high stakes armored car heist. Espinoza, seeing the chance to live his dream, takes the dead man’s place but puts himself in danger when his disease overcomes him with “The Aura.”
This is a riveting story about an ordinary man who enters into an extraordinary world of danger, all the more dangerous because of his epilepsy. Ricardo Darin reminds me of a slack-jawed Alan Rickman as we watch Espinoza succeed in achieving his dream. The story brings him tantalizingly close to success, love and wealth with the viewer hoping, along with Esteban, that he will triumph. Darin holds the screen with his fish out of water depiction of Espinoza as the man gets in way over his head. You identify and sympathize with his everyman character.
Tough guy characters make up the bulk of the superb supporting cast, fleshing out the gangster backdrop with a bevy of interesting, well-developed roles. Dolores Fonzi is also well cast as Esteban’s love interest, Diana. If the heist goes off as he planned, he will ride off into the sunset with her by his side.
The screenplay, by helmer Fabian Bielinsky, is tautly structured with its criminal scheming but also takes the time to establish an emotional link between Esteban and Diana. Couple this with solid behind the camera techs, excellent photography (by Checco Varese) and some beautiful imagery - a wolf-dog plays prominently throughout the film as Espinoza’s familiar and the device works wonderfully – and you get a well-crafted, entertaining package.
This is a start-to finish thriller that delves into a different world than the usual heist drama, anchored by Darin’s Esteban. Director Bielinsky learned well from his previous film, “Nine Queens” (which I liked), and establishes himself, with “The Aura,” as a talented filmmaker. His recent untimely death, unfortunately, put an end to this promising career. At least he went out with a bang. I give it a B+.Laura:
Laura gives The Aura (elAura) a B+
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