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El Crimen Perfecto   (released 11/16/2005)
By Ali Imran Zaidi

(In Spanish with English Subtitles)

Take a hint of Campbell Scott's Roger Dodger, add a bit of Ewan McGregor's Down with Love, squeeze in a twist of Edward Norton's Fight Club and wash it down with a smooth dose of Jude Law's Alfie. Now translate all that into Spanish and you have in your hands Guillermo Toledo's El Crimen Perfecto. A little cut-throat, a little campy, a little dark, and a little smooth. Intrigued? You should be; it's an intriguing film.

Directed and co-written by Álex de la Iglesia, a 'cult director' of sorts, this film is in line with what is fast becoming his signature style recognized by those who recognize Spanish cinema and Spanish auteurs – a style with a sharp, darkly comedic edge.

We begin with Rafael (Guillermo Toledo) enlightening us with a very direct spiel as to his life, methods, and style when it comes to his career (selling wares at a high-end department store) and his love (women, women and more women). Currently vying for the role of floor manager (and the cock-of-the-walk role it would put him in), we find our hero engrossed in a sudden-death sales competition with his arch-nemesis Don Antonio (Luis Varela), an old-school stiff-collared salesman with a terrible wig.

After a series of intimate encounters, and a series of goofy hijinks which I shouldn't describe here for fear of ruining it for you, we eventually find our hero and his nemesis going head to head, mano a mano, in a dressing room stall, of all places. This is where things start to get weird (or really weird – after all, the whole film is weird). A crime takes place. Someone witnesses. The criminal freaks out. The victim needs to be disposed of. The witness must be appeased. Sounds like a murder mystery, or a caper, and maybe it is, but it's definitely also a dark, dark comedy.

Who should go see this film? If you liked any of the films I mentioned above, go see this film. If you have a taste for foreign comedies, go see this film. If you speak Spanish – go see this film (this is Florida – there are so many of you out there, and how often do you really get to go see a Spanish film in the theater around here?). If you like dark comedies of any sort, you will love El Crimen Perfecto. And finally, if you're a Hitchcock fan, strange as it sounds, you will appreciate those certain things that you have to be a Hitchcock fan to appreciate. Enough said. Simon says go see this film.

Ali Imran Zaidi is a filmmaker, writer and web developer - shooting, banging on keyboards, and making web sites in the Orlando area.

El Crimen Perfecto plays at the DMAC Orlando starting November 17 with encore screenings through the Thanksgiving weekend.

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