_ There are 3 kinds of people; the ones above, the ones below, and the ones who fall._
I decided to check this out because the plot sounded unique, but other than reading the basic description, I went in blind. Great decision. Good job, Jake from 2 hours ago.
El Hoyo is a gruesome, disturbing thriller with a captivating take on dystopian fiction. Full of unexpected twists, it demands your attention throughout the entire film, which I found exceptionally impressive for something with such a compact (narrow?) setting that takes place entirely within a column of single prison-like cells.
The movie contains several themes of varying impact, ranging from capitalism versus communism to chaos versus order, none of which are particularly new ideas. However, the most notable metaphor for me was the contrast between savior and sin, respectively demonstrated by the protagonist and his first cellmate.
Trimagasi, a convicted murderer with an unnerving temperament, sees the world from a dreadful lens and is willing to resort to cannibalism, going as far as planning which days he will slice pieces of flesh off of his partner. On the other hand, Goreng is optimistic and remarkably naïve, though enthusiastic about helping ensure the other inmates get their rations and escape the pit, unless there is a violent objection to his plan.
Goreng repeatedly strives to help his cellmates throughout the film. After some initial tension when meeting for the first time, he befriends Trimagasi to the point of reading him stories and laughing while basking in wine. Goreng then attempts to assist the psychotic woman who rides the platform down to find her alleged son, knowing she kills her cellmates every new month. He sympathizes with the former administration employee and her sausage companion, later finding an ally in Baharat for his quest to deliver the message of solidarity to the top of the chamber.
Many of these themes could have been more subtle, but the delivery was amusing and done well enough to warrant a positive mention. Certain scenes felt like the writers were practically spelling out what they were trying to convey, which wasn’t strictly necessary. One egregious example of this was when another prisoner of the hole said something along the lines of, “What are you, some kinda communist?” Yeah, we got it; thank you for the clarification.
Overall I found this to be pretty damn entertaining. The idea was well executed, the plot had enough depth and uncertainty to keep my interest, and the pacing was outstanding. That being said, it would have been more rewarding to see even just a few minutes more at the end to see what happens with the message, and the brutal violence could have been more visually realistic at times.
Do you believe in god?
This month, yes.
This was a fun movie nonetheless. If you’re comfortable with subtitles enough to watch foreign language films even once in a blue moon, give this a go. It’s not winning the Palm d’Or or Best Picture at the Oscars, but it’s entertaining and engaging from the start.