Blaine Kyllo

I saw Intacto (Lions Gate) at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2002 and loved it. The film is about an underground ring of gamblers who bet on people’s luck. A first feature by Spanish director and cowriter Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the film stars Max von Sydow as the man with all the luck, and the man who steals it when he can. It’s a stylish, creepy movie that has the tension of a horror film and the twists of a good thriller. In one scene, Tomas, a bank robber who has survived a plane crash and become chattel for a gambler, sits with three other people around a poker table in a small room. They are all blindfolded, the lights are turned out and a massive insect is released into the room. Throughout the scene I waited for the terrible moment when the insect would start gnawing on someone, and I was strangely relieved when the insect simply landed on one person’s head, indicating that he was luckier than the others. The DVD includes much of the standard extra-feature fare: filmographies, “making of” documentary, clips of special effects being created. The director commentary—Fresnadillo reveals a great deal about themes and the hows and whys of moving a story forward—is presented in subtitled Spanish.

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