10 January 2004 | khatcher-2
Deep inside lugubrious dens the cards are served, offering some really wonderful panning across the faces of the concentrated players, and in the middle of them a rather striking young woman who has got herself into a man's world of hard drinkers, heavy smokers, dead-pan faces, as chips and cash are pushed back and forth over the green felt. An anguishing world of getting money from wherever so as to sit at the big one, and even more anguishing - getting more money to pay back what you have lost.
This is the world in which Luna moves, having grown up in whiskey bars, nicely played out by Ana Torrent, who is the main reason for my seeing the film after her participation in films such as `Vacas', `Tesis' (qv) and `Yoyes'. I was also keen to see Dafne Fernández again after her very nice appearances in `Pajarico' (qv) and `Goya en Burdeos' (qv), and the name of Álvaro Monje also called my attention (El Nini in `Las Ratas' - qv). Ana Torrent is well backed-up by a carefully chosen cast who fit in to what we would mostly expect these professional card-players to be like, but without being heavy-handed in stereotyping. The dialogues are mostly correct, with just a few weak moments that do not ring quite true. However, the story rides out its tense drama with sobriety.
The film is further enhanced by very atmospheric directing, creating good tension, helped by both the music and photography. All in all, the film adds up to rather more than what I expected.