"The Nameless"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5 stars)

    Emma Vilarasau as CLAUDIA
    Karra Elejalde as MASSERA
    Tristán Ulloa as QUIROGA
    Toni Sevilla as FRANCO
    Brendan Price as MARC
    Jordi Dauder as FORENSE

    Rated R
    Studio: Miramax

    Directed by: Jaume Balagueró
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“The Nameless,” a Spanish import thriller, tells the story of a woman named Claudia (Emma Vilarasau) whose life comes crashing down on her when her daughter is kidnapped. The police eventually come to her and announce they found a body, which they identify as her daughter. Afterwards, her marriage disintegrates and she has to rebuild her life. Five years pass, and just when she thinks she has gotten over the horror, she gets a call from a girl with her daughter’s voice, asking for her help.

Claudia runs to the police detective that originally handled her case. He has suffered recent tragedy in his life, so he takes her case, and they try to track down the person claiming to be her daughter. Throughout their investigation, they uncover some terrifying truths about evil and secret organizations.

Overall, “The Nameless” makes a pretty slick thriller. Director Jaume Balagueró has a real knack for creepy visuals and jumpy scares. “The Nameless” actually tops his American directing debut “Darkness” by being more moody and appropriate. The build-up of the film throughout its run worked well.

The only real problem was with the payoff at the end. Not only does the ending remind me a little too much of “Darkness,” but it also is a weak ending, both with how the script was written and how the film was shot. It just didn’t pop, and when you’re waiting for a powerful climax, that’s a bit disappointing. Still shocking, but not as good as it could have been.

The cast is pretty good. Emma Vilarasau does a fine job as Claudia. She’s not the standard beauty-over-40 American actress you might have come to expect in Hollywood. If they remade this movie, you’d end up with over-emoting from someone like Jennifer Connelly or Gwenyth Paltrow. However, Vilarasau’s down-to-earth, demure manner works in the somber tone of the film. Because it’s not a vehicle for Vilarasau, the movie is free to breath as its own entity.

Jaume Balagueró still is a good filmmaker. I’d watch “The Nameless” again over “Darkness,” and I hope the guy still gets some work in Hollywood. Unfortunately, Hollywood is fickle, and they may interpret the disappointing numbers for “Darkness” to be a mark against Balagueró. But there’s still hope. After all, they manage to keep throwing money at talentless hacks like Michael Bay and McG. At least give a budget to a guy with some style.

The DVD has nothing but the film, but it’s still worth it to pop in the player. The beauty of digital technology shows with this movie because you are given the soundtrack in both the original Spanish and dubbed English.

Give Balagueró a couple more films under his belt, and I think he could really come into his own. Considering “The Nameless” is just a random Spanish film that made its way into the American market, it’s actually quite good. That’s nothing against the Spanish - or foreign films in general. It still has a distinct European feel to it, but it’s got a style that can translate into a different culture.

Specifications: Dolby Digital Surround Sound (Spanish). Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (English). Widescreen (1.85:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Spanish language track. English titles for translation. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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