Dot The I

on March 11, 2005 by Annlee Ellingson
Fiery Spaniard Carmen (Natalia Verbeke, a dead ringer for Penelope Cruz in the right light, but trying too hard with an affected temper) is engaged to wealthy yet bland Barnaby (James d'Arcy), but, at her bachelorette party, she meets handsome young Brazilian Kit (Gael Garcia Bernal, in his English-language feature debut), with whom she shares a passionate kiss. She is unable to leave it at that, however, as he pursues her at the burger joint where she works and the club where she dances flamenco, telling her that he's been wondering about her ever since. “Have you been wondering too, or do you always kiss like that?” he asks.

An aspiring actor, Kit is never without a camcorder in hand, filming his every encounter with Carmen, he says, “because moments don't last.” Cinematographer Affonso Beato deftly intercuts between these media, the handheld video footage contrasting effectively with the slick production values. But there's another camera following Carmen as well, shot from around corners and behind trees, and she doesn't know whether it's her stalker ex from Spain or whether she shouldn't completely trust Kit. “Dot the I” continues to play with this metaphor of seeing through a camera by applying visual tricks such as fast motion, fish-eye lenses and warped images and cinematic conceits such as big shadows, noir lighting and red hues.

Eventually, Carmen and Kit discover that one or the other or both have been had by an unexpected source in the name of art (think reality television gone bad--okay, worse) and scheme to exact their revenge. It's this last plot point that goes a bit overboard. The result is funny in its way, and in line with the movie references (“The Graduate,” “Swimming With Sharks”) throughout, but ultimately the viewer is not left with the necessary pathos. Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Natalia Verbeke, James d'Arcy, Tom Hardy and Charlie Cox. Directed and written by Matthew Parkhill. Produced by Meg Thomson and George Duffield. An Innovation release. Thriller. Rated R for strong sexuality/nudity, language and some violence. Running time: 92 min

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