Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 10 Best Films Of 2001 The 10 Best Films Of 2001 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More Watch: Full 90-Minute Documentary 'Great Directors' With David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes And More "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 20 Most Anticipated Foreign Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Tribeca Review: 'As Luck Would Have It' Is The Jewel Of The Fest

The Playlist By Gabe Toro | The Playlist April 26, 2012 at 2:02PM

Alex de la Iglesia’s “As Luck Would Have It” features, in supporting roles, Salma Hayek and Carolina Bang, two of the most ravishing and talented Spanish language actresses to ever grace the screen. Most viewers are well aware of Ms. Hayek, who has aged gracefully into Hollywood’s demeaning mother-ghetto for actresses over the age of 35. Few know of Ms. Bang, who was the centerpiece of de la Iglesia’s last film, the criminally-insane “The Last Circus.” Both command the screen with old school Hollywood glamour and mature sexuality, and yet neither manages to obscure the machinations of de la Iglesia’s sharp media satire. This, as Queen once sang long ago, is a kind of magic.
3

As Luck Would Have It, Salma Hayek
Álex de la Iglesia’s “As Luck Would Have It” features, in supporting roles, Salma Hayek and Carolina Bang, two of the most ravishing and talented Spanish-language actresses to ever grace the screen. Most viewers are well aware of Ms. Hayek, who has aged gracefully into Hollywood’s demeaning mother-ghetto for actresses over the age of 35. Few know of Ms. Bang, who was the centerpiece of de la Iglesia’s last film, the criminally-insane “The Last Circus.” Both command the screen with old school Hollywood glamour and mature sexuality, and yet neither manages to obscure the machinations of de la Iglesia’s sharp media satire. This, as Queen once sang long ago, is a kind of magic.

Jose Mota is Roberto, a one-time ad exec who hasn’t had success in many moons. Unbeknownst to his supportive wife, the couple are in dire financial straits, Roberto long living off the reputation gained from an old Coca Cola slogan. Reduced to begging and groveling at his former bosses’ knees, Roberto soon realizes he has no job prospects. The cosmic joke of the film, unspoken, seems to be that Roberto seemingly bottomed out without a natural talent for advertising, and whatever reputation he has garnered was a fluke. The irony, of course, is that these callous suits lack what the enterprising Roberto brings to the table, courtesy of his Coke tagline: “the spark of life.”

As Luck Would Have It, Salma Hayek

Despondent, Roberto flees to the location of his honeymoon with his wife, where one absent-minded misstep lands him on his back, seriously injured but conscious. Lying on his back, Roberto maintains his motor skills, but he cannot move. He is impaled, a sharp nail sticking out from the ground, embedded in his head. Cops descend, but none dare to pry him loose, until medics provide a diagnosis: they could remove Roberto from the nail, but if he is pried loose in the wrong direction, he will die. The story of Roberto’s misfortunate circulates, now attached to the circumstances. Soon, a media circus erupts over his captive state, reports circulating that his career had been failing and that he may have attempted suicide. The location de la Iglesia picks is not unintentional: all parties involved realize he’s fallen on somewhat sacred ground, a landmark of sorts where Roberto’s freedom could involve desecrating ancient ground. From Roberto’s perspective, as we see various onlookers and media outlets observe, the area he occupies is shaped very much like ancient Coliseum bleachers. He has become the star of his own show, the story of his death, Ancient Rome-style.

Wife Luisa (Hayek) eventually descends, though she is soon swarmed by the vultures of the press (among them Ms. Bang). As Roberto moves in and out of lucidity, they fight over exclusive access both to an interview with him or her. The ghoulish lengths they’ll go to procure official footage and soundbites overwhelms Luisa: one reporter openly muses on a much higher cost for an interview if he were to die.

As Luck Would Have It

De la Iglesia’s setup harkens back to “Ace In The Hole” but with a much more humanist bent: with his life on the line, Roberto immediately starts thinking dollar signs, knowing the cynicism of the media can be exploited to finally give he and his wife the life that will please her. But Luisa is the film’s heart, and this attitude pierces her, as she fights against the reporters’ obvious interest in Roberto’s possible death. De la Iglesia, in the middle of what some may consider a career-long roll, continues his commitment to stark, realistic humanity in heightened, blackly comic situations. The absurdity of Roberto’s predicament, while handled with good humor, is played with an entirely straight face -- his argument as to whether Brad Pitt or George Clooney in a movie adaptation is as much a product of his pop culture cynicism as it is about his hopeful recontextualization of this unlucky scenario. There may be no boogeyman in sight, but de la Iglesia uses Hitchcockian music cues and camera angles to emphasize the morbidity of Roberto constantly being moments away from death, with surrounding onlookers subtly rooting for his demise. Mordantly funny and sharp as a razor, “As Luck Would Have It” is one of the treasures of the Tribeca Film Festival. [A]

This article is related to: As Luck Would Have It, Tribeca Film Festival, Álex de la Iglesia, Review, Salma Hayek, Carolina Bang


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates