A PERFECT DAY
DIRECTOR: Fernando León de Aranoa
CAST: Benicio del Toro, Tim Robbins, Melanie Thierry, Loga Kurylenko, Fedja Stukan and Eldar Residovic
CLASSIFICATION: 10-12 PG L
RUNNING TIME: 106 minutes
RATING: 4 stars (out of 5)
PERFECT Day is a darkly comical ensemble piece which gives you a jaded
glimpse into war times. Instead of concentrating on the bloody fighting
part, we see some of what happens in the moments between the actual
Playing across one day in the lives of a team of UN Aid
Across Borders workers in the mid-’90s Balkans, the at times melancholic
story turns out to be the opposite of what wthe title suggests –
everything simply goes perfectly wrong with the day.
For the team,
it starts as just another absurd day, trying to navigate a war zone as
workers tasked with sanitation work. But, for the viewer, it is a way to
humanise a war that may have played out on our tv screens, but happened
very far away in soundbytes.
Director Fernando León de Aranoa
concentrates on specific people and shows us how big ideals and
decisions affect them, and especially affects aid workers who run
towards the trouble.
Benicio del Toro is the jaded team leader
Mambrú, trying to get through the day and home to his long-suffering
fiancee without her finding out that his one-time fling Katya
(Kurylenko) is in town. The just-as-jaded Katya has been dispatched by
HQ to assess whether the team is fulfilling their mandate.
more laid-back, veteran B (Robbins) readily consults with and listens to
Mambrú, newest team member, Sophie’s (Thierry) enthusiasm creates more
trouble than anything else.
All they are trying to do is remove a
dead body from a well, but the red tape of detached bean counters and
the intransigence of suspicious locals conspire to make this the most
difficult of tasks.
While the characters aren’t novel – the
interpreter stuck between loyalty to his people and potential violence
to his person from opposition, the world-weary aidworker who has been
there and worn out the T-shirt, the idealistic newby and the cute little
boy who just wants to play soccer – the place is novel to the audience.
actors are a stellar bunch, but they do struggle somewhat to string
together a series of admittedly engrossing and ever-more logic- defying
events. There is a war going on, people are dying, but this team are
looking for a rope and they spent a whole day doing that, just so they
can do the job they are tasked with doing.
Their dark wisecracks
and the increasingly bizarre situation serve to detract you from the
fight, but every now and then De Aranoa twitches back the curtain and
you are reminded that war is horror.
If you liked The Program or 99 Homes, you will like this.
Read the review here.