El Aura AKA The Aura 2005 Movie Scene Ricardo Darín as Taxidermista, Esteban Espinosa holding a gun in the forest after a heist

El Aura [2005]

If you’re looking for something different and yet equally engaging, you’ve just found it. After all, Rabbit Reviews is the perfect destination for both popular and not-so-popular movie recommendations. What you can be certain of is that the movie will be worth watching. And the same goes for this one. Right off the bat, it shows you that it’s not going to be your typical thriller. El Aura AKA The Aura is an atmospheric neo-noir movie about a taxidermist dreaming of pulling the perfect heist. And one day, his dreams will become reality. In the lead role, we have none other than Ricardo Darin, one of the best Argentinian actors in recent decades.

You probably know him from the masterpiece that is The Secret in Their Eyes, one of my favorite movies. His performance here is incredible, carrying the whole weight of the movie on his shoulders. This is his second cooperation with Fabián Bielinsky, after the 2001 masterpiece Nine Queens. Sadly, El Aura is also Bielinsky’s last movie as he tragically passed away just a year later of a heart attack. He was just 47 years old and I was really looking forward to seeing more of his movies. At least he will be remembered as one of the great Argentinian directors.

El Aura is a strange movie, a psychological neo-noir affair that requires patience. The pacing is sluggish, the atmosphere strange, and the running time a bit longer (2h14m). And yet this movie had me hooked from minute one. We find our hero lying in front of an ATM, slowly coming to his senses. One hard cut later, he’s at his job, making dead animals look like live ones. I was never that much interested in taxidermy. Apart from it being the keyword for some fucked up movies, it was something that I never noticed as an actual occupation. With upbeat music you can enjoy during those taxidermy scenes, it doesn’t seem all that weird. To each his own I say.

Taxidermy is an occupation that you don’t choose, it chooses you. This was the case with Esteban Espinosa, a shy and introverted taxidermist who suffers from epilepsy. He spends his days doing stuff that other people would find awkward or even repulsive. After a successful trip to the museum to sell his work, he winds up in a line at a local bank with another taxidermist, Sontag. This is the time when Esteban casually lays out a plan on how to rob the bank containing an incredible amount of details. Planning and details are not much of a problem for Esteban since he has a photographic memory…

I wasn’t really sure whether I should tell you that this is actually a heist movie, underneath all the layers of side stories and characters, but I guess it’s too late for that now. El Aura is not your usual Hollywood heist movie, but a weird noir mixture of drama, thriller, and almost horror. This is as good as it is bad since there’s a lot of sudden changes in pace, especially towards the end that might confuse or even irritate viewers. This combined with a lot of elements that are not fully explained or pertinent to the main story can make the movie incoherent at times. I guess that’s that Latin American magical realism at work.

Speaking of magic, the locations we will be visiting were absolutely stunning. From the quaint little towns on the foothills of the Andes to mystical Patagonian forests, each of these places contributed to that peculiar atmosphere. I would recommend El Aura AKA The Aura to all the fans of neo-noir movies. Mostly because it’s not very well known but also because it consistently puts interesting twists on all the genre tropes. This is a movie that you’ll definitely remember. Finally, I have to say that I’ve never seen a movie explore the subject of epilepsy so artistically and eloquently. Go see The Aura before we get an English-speaking remake.

Director: Fabián Bielinsky

Writer: Fabián Bielinsky

Cast: Ricardo Darín, Dolores Fonzi, Manuel Rodal, Pablo Cedrón, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Jorge D’Elía

Fun Facts: Fabián Bielinsky began working on this movie some 25 years ago, back in the eighties. Eventually, he decided to go a different route instructing Ricardo Darin to develop his character on his own. In turn, Bielinsky would focus on the story and the atmosphere.


IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420509/

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