LIMBO **** Spain 2019 Dir: Dani Viqueira. 15 mins
A harrowing study of madness and paranoia from writer-director Dani Viqueira, this short pivots around a fearless performance from Xosé Eirín as a family man whom we first meet wielding a shotgun while his terrified wife and daughter desperately plot their escape. A shocking act of violence is graphically captured early on, the camera recoiling as if in horror from the room while Eirín lurks, armed and in the psychological “limbo” of the title, on the porch. Viqueira makes jarring use of heightened sound – natural or otherwise – and finds a sense of unease even in the innocuous cutaways of a spider spinning its web. Offbeat p.o.v. shots (the perspective of a ball rolling past) alternate with audacious visual moments like a scene of Eirín disappearing into the darkness via the light atop his shotgun. There are startling individual scenes, from a Lady Macbeth moment of trying to wash away the gore to a disturbing Cronenbergian portrait of (literally) falling apart in front of the bathroom mirror. It’s a technically brilliant film, with an imposing / pitiful lead performance and a haunting final shot.
Review by Steven West