Director/Writer: Pablo Berger
Produced by: Pablo Berger, Ignasi Estapé, Mercedes Gamero, Mikel Lejarza
Music by: Alfonso de Vilallonga
Cinematography by: Kiko de la Rica
Starring: Maribel Verdú, Priscilla Delgado, Antonio de la Torre, José Mota, Quim Gutiérrez, Joep Maria Pou, Javier Anton and Rocίo Calvo.
Language: Spanish with English subtitles.
If it was a choice between an egotistical, abusive and dismissive husband or a loving, appreciative but crazy murderer, who would you choose?
Abracadabra is kind of a love story, if you can call the choice between a chauvinist and a murderer romantic, mixed with weird humour and eye-brow raising moments of blood and drama and fantasy.
After Carmen (Maribel Verdú) with daughter, Toñi (Priscilla Delgado) finally drag husband and father, Carlos from watching the football to a wedding, they wonder why they bothered when he continues to listen to the football match with headphones shouting, Yes !!! right as the priest asks if anyone contends this most romantic and completely loved-up couple from marrying (their current feeling expressed in precious promises the complete opposite to Carmen and Carlos).
The wedding reception show-cases Pepe (José Mota), the mighty hypnotist, (and obsessed with the sequined, gorgeous but somewhat gaudy Carmen) daring an audience member to volunteer. Carlos doesn’t like the way Pepe looks at his wife, so volunteers confident in his domination over the powers of the eye-lined hypnotist, Pepe.
While mocking the powers of Pepe an opportunistic ghost possesses Carlos changing him from macho-nasty to doe-eyed lovely, breakfast-in-bed included.
When Carmen and daughter Toñi realise it’s too good to be true, the last straw his greeting of Pepe with a kiss and hug, they consult the mighty Dr. Fumetti (Joep Maria Pou) to find the truth of who inhabits the body of Carlos.
And on the story goes, reaching into the bizarre with a flavour of comedy that held the film from falling into a complete mess of over-dramatisation.
It was those subtle details that were funny: the vibrant white of Dr. Fumetti’s teeth while posing as a dentist; the frothing and spitting of the real estate agent to re-enact blood spurting as a mother’s head was sawn off by the hand of her schizophrenic son… I love a bit of dark humour and there were many moments well executed (ha, ha!) by the cast.
If you don’t like funny-strange humour, then stay away. The film was also melodramatic with emotion shown with that, hand to mouth, Oh! face, often. But as the film plays out there was a bit of lead in the story.
An interesting movie experience into the unexpected and absurd, with the drama of weddings and unrequited love and madness that was surprising and silly, pushing the suspension of belief as the script skipped across disaster by keeping the underlying humour present in those unexpected and bizarre details.