Cine Las Americas Review: El Vigilante
Clasutrophobic Mexican crime drama finds enigma in shadows
By Austin Sanders,
10:30AM, Mon. May 7, 2018
Mexican First-time filmmaker Diego Ros has set a high bar with El Vigilante (The Night Guard), a Spanish-language thriller that follows a security guard on the night shift who arrives to a shocking scene at the construction site where he works: crime scene tape, police, and a suspicious van.
Chava (Leonardo Alonso), is just trying to get home, but is dragged through a series of perplexing events by his partner on the shift, Hugo (Ari Gallegos). Each one has Chava questioning the motives of the people he interacts with, and Alonso does a superb job expressing this skepticism with his performance. The film has a small cast – really just Chava, Hugo and a police officer – but each performance is delivered ably.
Although the film is confined to the construction site, Ros and cinematographer Galo Olivares do an impressive job making each shot feel unique and purposeful. Olivares has a delightful time creating long shadows in the dimly lit sets that add to the film’s sense of atmospheric dread.
El Vigilante is well-acted, even though it is occasionally bogged down by a meandering script, but it is pulled together by Ros’ control of tempo and tone.
Cine Las Americas International Film Festival ran May 2-6. For more on the festival, read "Not Just the Border," April 27.