Novo (2002)

“Novo” (2002)

IMDb

what you see is what you get

I think this is messy and out of focus. It tries to be too many things, and it fails to successfully achieve any of those.

This wanted to be love story told through a different angle. It wanted to play with memory as a creator of reality, or something able to define a certain reality. It wanted to establish ambiguity over motivations and over who is controlling, who is bending the reality of what we see. It wanted to use sex, and sexually moved characters (above all females) as a cinematic glue to all this I can think of various films for each of the “wannabe” i mentioned that manage to be more successful in their objectives than this one. I don’t know one film that does well in mixing all this. And if i come to find one, i don’t think it will be made by the authors of this one. At least not for what i saw here.

‘Memento’ played with the notions and the effects of short term memory, and memory loss much deeper. Here, we find the memory losses as the device to allow our character to become who his puppeteers want him to be. It is what it takes for him to be a puppet, to be unstable, to cast some doubt on who he is, what he wants. Noriega played the equivalent role in ‘Abre los ojos’, which was much more effective. I think for this purposes, ‘Clean Slate’ was a much better exploration of this!… Here we have links establish to monitoring our amnesic, the martial arts, the photos sessions, the block notes. But none of that is really used. The ending comes to unfold as a common romantic situation of gathering and decision on which woman the protagonist will elect (which you know who it is miles away from the ending).

So it ends as the love story the film also wanted to be. The ‘woman who loves the man accepting him for what he is’ plot. It’s ordinary, but it is given a new clothing, in order to look new. But if you stop and think, there’s absolutely nothing worth mentioning about this story. If you want renewed fresh ways to join a love environment and the creation of alternative realities, try Medem. In ‘Los amantes…’, in ‘Lucia y el sexo’, in ‘La ardilla roja’. He can do that. By coincidence (or not), here we even have Medem’s Lucia (Paz Vega) as the wife of the sick protagonist who, in his moments of memory recovery comes to speak Spanish…

Than we have the attempts to play with the forces controlling what we see. We know almost always as much as the main character. And practically every character (except the boy and the woman who loves the protagonist) have ambiguous intentions (apart from the fact that we take our time to understand where everybody fits, that’s a good thing). We are given successions of facts we can’t judge correctly. But than we come to understand that the film is moving nowhere, and what we see is what we get. No twist, no revelation, what it seems to be happening is really happening. It’s not that we have to be deceived, but there should be some intention behind the idea of casting ambiguity in every corner of the stone. See ‘Oldboy’, if you want master work working these concepts.

My opinion: 2/5 this is messy, but it has some interesting concepts, if you start imagining where this could go.

This comment on IMDb

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