A crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns, suspected of crimes ranging from child abuse to baby-snatching from unwed mothers, live secluded, after an incident occurs.
Neruda is an ambitious and out-of-the-box kind of film that in a poetic way tries to combine fiction with nonfiction, saluting the work and wit of Neruda and other artists of his time. However, in my opinion the film does not quite move the way it is supposed to. Cinematographically, it is very well done, with a lot of care for the use of light and surrounding elements. The underscore engulfs the scenes with a sense of drama and vibrant energy, but this is also where it goes wrong: the scenes themselves, do not bring the kind of energy and drama to the screen one might expect from this kind of tale. The minimalism and introvert approach to the acting in Neruda is perhaps somewhat too subtle, reversing the characters to almost two-dimensional beings that lack the personality or warmth that is needed to draw the viewer in. The script and the way some dialogues are cut and played out in different rooms confirm that ultimately Neruda's attempt to escape is a long poem on its own. Only, unfortunately, it is a bit too long and too cold to truly sink in.
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