Monday, June 12, 2017

Camino (2015)

Number Rolled: 79
Movie Name/Year: Camino (2015)
Tagline: The camera sees what it sees.
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Length: 104 minutes
Rating: NR
Production Companies: Bleiberg Entertainment, La Panda, Organically Grown Productions
Producer: Brett W. Bachman, Zoe Bell, Ehud Bleiberg, Nicholas Donnermeyer, Barry Gordon, Jacob Horn, Elisa Lleras, Michael M. McGuire, Daniel Noah, Nacho Vigalondo, Josh C. Waller
Director: Josh C. Waller
Writer: Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller
Actors: Zoe Bell, Nacho Vigalondo, Francisco Barreiro, Sheila Vand, Tenoch Huerta, Dominic Rains, Nancy Gomez, Jason Canela, Kevin Pollak, Emmanuel Dejesus
Stunt Doubles: Kelly Chinone, Darin Fujimori

Blurb from Netflix: While covering a humanitarian mission, a journalist uncovers a dark secret that forces her to flee to the Columbian rainforest and fight for her life.

Selina’s Point of View:
Although I liked the majority of Camino, it had some significant faults that I simply can’t overlook.

The story was highly predictable. In fact, it was almost a paint-by-numbers situation. For the most part, however, I didn’t mind what they did with the recipe. I liked that the main character was a strong woman shown entering survival mode. The film was also very good at exhibiting that fight or flight response that occurs in people facing dangerous situations.

As much as I liked the main character, played by an absolutely flawless Zoe Bell (Raze, Mercenaries, Paradox), I did not enjoy any of the other characters. They were shallow. Their motivation was weak. The big bad of the film was ridiculous and, even during his killing scenes, I found it difficult to be afraid of him. I don’t know if that’s how the writers wanted him portrayed or if Nacho Vigalondo (Cabas, As Luck Would Have It, Estirpe) just didn’t take the part seriously.

If Camino wasn’t a serious film, the bad guy would have been just fine. A few tweaks to the script and he’d have been a parody of the trope. Unfortunately, that’s not what you want to see in a hardcore thriller.

My second issue was the music.

There were parts of the music composition that reminded me so closely of Full Metal Jacket (1987) that I had to go back and watch some scenes to make sure nothing was actively plagiarized. Not only that, but that same high-pitched music was played so loudly that it became utterly overwhelming and pulled me right out of the story.

Music can really make or break a film and I’m guessing ‘overwhelming annoyance’ was not what composer Pepijn Caudron (Monster!, Con Amor, Cooties) was going for when he sat down to create the feel for Camino. If the music had been lower, and a touch subtler, it would have elevated the thrill instead of working against it. It may have even given that gentle nod of recognition to the amazing Stanley Kubrick (The Shining, Lolita, Eyes Wide Shut) film, instead of feeling like it was trying to copy and paste something from it.

So, you can see, the issues I have with Camino, are not minor. Despite the fact that I feel like I’ll remember the movie fondly in many respects, the memory will always be muddied by those problems.

It’s really a shame. Camino, especially starring Bell, had so much potential.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was rather glad that the dice gave us this movie. I’ve been wanting to see it since watching the trailer in preparation for our monthly Top 20 for March of 2016. I can’t remember why it didn’t make the cut of my personal list, but I do remember that it made an impact. I was entirely on Selina’s wavelength with her comments. (The film made #9 on her list.)

This movie deals with some pretty heavy subjects. In fact, if disturbing images of the ravages of war and human rights atrocities aren’t something you can stomach; be prepared to cover your eyes for a few segments of this film. The main character here is a war photographer, and flashes of her photos are sprinkled in throughout the movie.

There was at least one image that I know of that I had trouble focusing on. My mind balking against what I was looking at in a stubborn refusal to process the horrific nature of it. Part of me wants to know if those images were licensed for use from an actual photo-journalist or if they were staged specifically for this movie. The other part of me is relieved that there are no trivia entries on IMDb that could have answered that question.

But I digress…

I love Zoë Bell (Gamer, Oblivion, The Hateful Eight). She is a real badass. She was in the industry for years doing stunt work on amazing films before she decided to take a shot at being center stage, rather than doing her best to blend into someone else’s character. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure she did her own stunt work here – and that had to have been no small feat. I think she aced it.

Let’s talk about Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Extraterrestrial, Open Windows). This guy is a conundrum to me. Vigalondo gives us genius in his performance here as the charismatic ‘freedom fighter’ Guillermo. Though, this is the same man, who as writer and director, has given us absolute insanity with the likes of V/H/S Viral (2014) the “Parallel Monsters” segment and The ABCs of Death (2012) the “A is for Apocalypse” segment.  I suppose this role did require him to have an understanding of madness.

I would definitely recommend this movie, and I just might watch it again to see if the answers I so desperately seek were revealed in a flash that I missed.

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 28%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 19%
Metascore - 30/100
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.9/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

Trust-the-Dice’s Parental Advisory Rating: R

Movie Trailer:

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