"O, Lucky Man"
What You Need To Know:
INTACTO is a Spanish thriller opening in December in New York and Los Angeles. It envisions a fantasy world where not only are some people luckier than others, but some people have the gift of being lucky and can even steal other people’s luck just by touching them or winning their picture in a weird, dangerous game of chance. In the story, Federico tries to get back at his elderly mentor, Sam, by involving a lucky young thief, Tomas, in Sam’s bizarre gambling ring. Their journey leads to a deadly game of Russian roulette with Sam, a Holocaust survivor.
INTACTO is a striking, unusual thriller, a philosophical treatise on the nature of fate, luck, guilt, and love. Although it subtly portrays the redemptive power of love, it also suggests that, if you follow your heart, you can create your own luck. Thus, it has a mixed, or pagan, worldview containing Romantic, humanist notions contradicting its redemptive message. The movie also contains some strong foul language and disturbing scenes of violence where gamblers risk their own lives as part of a game or bet. Such scenes are very dangerous, because susceptible people might imitate them
(Pa, Ro, H, Ab, C, LL, VV, N, A, D, MM) Eclectic, or pagan, worldview, with pagan, Romantic, humanist, Christian, and redemptive elements; 12 obscenities (including some “f” words) and one strong profanity; some action violence and other disturbing scenes of violence such as violent shootout heard but not seen, man wearing blindfold runs across freeway as part of a fantastic gambling ring, car hits man, men wearing blindfolds run through forest of trees and all but one smack into trees, smashed bloody faces, people point guns at each other, Russian roulette scenes, people shown with bloody wounds from gunshots, aftermath of airplane crash, flashback to implied head on collision, and gun fires, hitting woman off screen, while man cleans it; no sex; upper female nudity in one non-sexual scene; alcohol use; smoking; and, lots of gambling, fleeing from police, lying to police, and stealing.
Fresnadillo has been obsessed with the idea of good luck and bad luck ever since he witnessed the aftermath of a terrible plane crash involving two massive jumbo jets. Some people accidentally missed the two flights and survived, but others did not. INTACTO envisions a fantasy world where not only are some people luckier than others, but also some people have the gift of being lucky and can even steal other people’s luck just by touching them or winning their picture in a weird, dangerous game of chance.
In the story, a young thief named Tomas is the sole survivor of a plane crash. An older man named Federico believes that he can use Tomas’s gift of luck to get back at his mentor, Sam, an elderly Jewish survivor of the Holocaust. Sam runs a lucrative casino in the mountain desert and is the master of a dangerous gambling ring, where people bet their physical well-being, even sometimes their life, in a bizarre series of games.
Federico enlists Tomas to take part in those games. He believes Tomas is the only man who can steal Sam’s own amazing gift of luck, so he helps Tomas escape from the police guards at the hospital. They are not safe, however. A policewoman named Sara, herself the survivor of a terrible car crash that killed her husband and child, is hot on their trail. She becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth about the gambling ring when her search for Tomas and Federico reveals the existence of the ring. Their journey leads to an ultimate showdown with Sam.
INTACTO is a striking, unusual thriller that also plays like a fantasy or fable. The acting is very good, especially Max Von Sydow as Sam, who has become a sort of “God of Good Luck.” In an important scene near the end, viewers get to hear from Sam’s own lips an important insight into his life and his behavior. They learn that, despite all his luck and wealth, Sam is a guilty, suffering man who actually welcomes death. Fresnadillo handles this climax with surprising skill. He expertly weaves provocative philosophical issues into an engrossing character study.
Regrettably, however, Fresnadillo has a mixed, or pagan, worldview concerning his subject mater. The premise of his movie shows the redemptive power of love. Also, at one crucial point in the movie, a Roman Catholic character crosses himself, a symbol of Christian belief and a plea for divine protection. Diluting these positive elements are Romantic and humanist notions. Thus, the movie also suggests that, if you follow your heart, you can create your own luck and destiny. This is not only a Romantic superstition, it is also a humanist superstition that human beings should rely on themselves rather than God or other spiritual powers and religious ideas.
INTACTO also includes disturbing scenes where gamblers risk their own lives as part of some kind of game or bet. Some people who might see this movie, especially older children, teenagers and young adults, will decide to imitate this kind of very dangerous behavior.
Therefore, viewers should think long and hard before they see INTACTO. They should approach their decision with extreme caution.