Burnt Money

Nicely done relationship, somewhat dull film
★★
☆☆
Released: 
2000
Director: 
Marcelo Piñeyro
Starring: 
Eduardo Noriega, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Pablo Echarri, Leticia Brédice
The Setup: 
Two gay lovers are part of group on the run from the law after committing a robbery.
Discussion: 

I first became aware of this movie by seeing the trailer on the disc of the excellent Love and Death on Long Island. Apparently based on a true story, this film tells the story of a heist that takes place in Argentina in 1965. The two main characters, Nene and Angel, are very devoted male lovers who are part of the gang, and the movie tells the story of the strain their relationship endures under the stress of having to hide out with the rest of the gang in an apartment for extended periods of time.

The pair are called "the twins" because they look vaguely alike and are inseparable and incredibly devoted. Probably the best thing about this movie is the portrayal of the intensity of their love and commitment to each other. I also like that they are accomplished characters, and are prized for their abilities-although those abilities are as killers and criminals. And neither of them hurts to look at, especially the creepily intense Nene-but you are of course familiar with the dangerous allure of sociopaths.

So they are part of this heist that leaves Angel injured and puts them all on the run. They escape into Uruguay, where the gang holes up in an empty apartment from which they can never leave and have to make as little noise as possible. This obviously increases the stress, and small flashes of homophobia are seen from the other crooks, including the view that the two "fags" are expendable. At this point I sort of thought this movie was going to be about how the straights plot to hang the gays out to dry, and how the duo retaliate, but this was not meant to be.

Adding to the stress is the fact that Angel is borderline schizophrenic, in that he hears voices, and his injury and their forced seclusion is really causing a flare-up. He begins to draw away from Nene, and the frustrated Nene begins to look for affection elsewhere [after they have begun to risk the danger of leaving the apartment]. He sets up with a hooker named Giselle, who he begins to feel real affection for. As you can guess, a lot of these situations are going to come to a head.

What begins to be the problem is the general aimlessness of the story. I really liked the first hour, but during the 60-90 minute section you really start wondering "where is this going? What does this part have to do with?" During the 90-105 minute section I was thinking "Okay, let's wrap this up," and during the 105-120 minute section I was thinking "God, when is this fucking thing going to END?"

More fodder for my ever-solidifying theory that there are very few movies that need to be over 90 minutes.

My sense is that this movie has allegorical overtones that describe the political situation of Argentina in the 60s and beyond. Knowing nothing about that situation, I neither received nor can offer any insight into that. I really liked the first half, I really liked the depiction of the relationship, and I really want to make out with Nene. I'm not sorry I watched it, but if I had to do it all over again, I'm not sure I would.

Should you watch it: 

If you can somehow get his for free, I would watch the first hour and then toss it, or fast-forward through the rest. It does not end in a new or surprising way. If I had to pay $4 to rent it. well, it depends how much you like hot Argentine sociopaths.