4 January 2007 | The_Void
Not terrible, but could have been a lot better
Well, given all I'd heard about this Spanish thriller, I have to say that I went into it expecting more. The only film I'd seen from director Eloy de la Iglesia prior to seeing this one was the Video Nasty Cannibal Man, which doubles up as one of the best films on the Video Nasty list, as well as a damn fine exploitation flick in its own right. This made my expectations rise, and since the plot works from a premise that certainly appeals to me (being a big fan of Giallo), I'm really, really disappointed with what I got. The film focuses on Martha; a lonely housewife who has been left alone in her apartment as her husband is away on one of his frequent business trips. Her upstairs neighbour is a woman named Julie, and she finds herself in a similar situation as her husband too is away a lot, and he happens to be away this time as well. Our lonely housewife soon begins to hear footsteps upstairs and after overhearing a few things, some true...some not quite true, she jumps to the conclusion that the upstairs neighbour has, in fact, killed her husband. Women, eh?
The film is disappointing because of the way that the director handles it. The plot pacing is very sluggish, and the film feels like it doesn't have quite enough plot to keep things interesting for the duration. The central location; an apartment block is good and well used, and Iglesia makes it work with the plot as it's creepy and gritty. The central plot thread is too thin to be stretched too much, and the director does implement several other plot threads into the mix to bulk things out. These aren't all that interesting, however, and since it never feels like the lead character is in any danger until the end, the film also lacks tension and suspense. The two central actresses; Carmen Sevilla and Patty Shepard do their best with what they have, and are a definite credit to the film, despite the awful dubbing on the copy I saw. There's a lack of anything resembling sleaze, which I think a plot line like this needs...although in fairness, I am more used to watching Italian thrillers. Overall, I'm sure there are elements here that people will enjoy - but I can't recommend The Glass Ceiling as I simply didn't find it interesting.