Monday, June 16, 2014

Rudo y Cursi

Written and directed by Carlos Cuaron, Rudo y Cursi (Rude and Tacky) is the story of two brothers from a rural Mexican village who are discovered by a futbol scout as they each endure major success in the Mexican futbol league only to fall through different means. The film is an exploration into the world of the Mexican futbol culture as well as the relationship between two brothers as the film marks a reunion with Cuaron who co-wrote Y Tu Mama Tambien with his brother Alfonso and its stars in Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna as the two brothers. Also starring Guillermo Francella, Dolores Heredia, Adriana Paz, Jessica Mas, and Salvador Zerboni. Rudo y Cursi is an extraordinarily funny film from Carlos Cuaron.

The film is about the fortunes of two half-brothers who are discovered by a scout as they each become stars in the Mexican futbol league where the brothers not only deal with success but also a very corrupt world in the futbol league. It’s also a film that explores the relationship between these two brothers who both want different goals for themselves as Beto (Diego Luna) is a talented goalie who wants to succeed so he can help his wife Tona (Adriana Paz) and their two kids as well as the rest of his very dysfunctional family. His younger half-brother Tato (Gael Garcia Bernal) is also talented in futbol yet he has aspirations to make it as a singer. While the film is about these two brothers as they would respectively be called Rudo y Cursi, it’s mostly told from the perspective of the talent scout Batuta (Guillermo Francella) who narrates the film as he would talk about the way things work while his character is this mixture of angel and devil as he gives them what they want but also tries to profit from their misfortunes.

Carlos Cuaron’s screenplay definitely plays into the classic rise-and-fall scenario as well as exploring the corrupt world of Mexican futbol and the relationship between two brothers. The latter of which is inspired by Carlos’ own love-hate relationship with his older brother Alfonso who is one of the film’s producers. While both Beto and Tato want to succeed in futbol, they each have aspirations that showcases their differences. Beto wants to be known as the best goalie in Mexico as he is called Rudo for his rough approach to goalkeeping as he also has a family to support. Tato wants to use his talents in futbol so he can become a singer as he would get all of the perks of being a star despite gaining the name Cursi for his corny post-goal dance. Cuaron would inject a lot of crass dialogue that carries much of the film’s humor while also balancing with some drama once Beto and Tato deal with their misfortunes as well as face each other in the film’s climatic game where there’s a lot more at stake.

Cuaron’s direction is quite simple as he goes for something that is more engaging with his approach to hand-held cameras as well as some steadicam shots and some unique compositions. Much of it is shot on location in Mexico City and at the Cihuatlan Valley in Jalisco as the latter serves as the rural home where Beto and Tato lived in as the banana plantation is actually owned by the Cuaron family. Cuaron would use a lot of wide shots to capture the different landscapes where the rural home that the brothers lived seemed much simpler and quaint while Mexico City is a world where it’s big but also overwhelming considering the how chaotic it can be. Through some close-ups and medium shots, Cuaron also captures the atmosphere of what it’s like at a futbol game where he shoots these scenes from the perspective of the fans as well as what goes on at the field. Especially in the film’s climatic game where a lot is at stake while fans for both teams insult each other. Overall, Cuaron crafts a very entertaining and insightful film about two brothers who go to the city to chase their dreams only to face the dark realities of the Mexican futbol league.

Cinematographer Adam Kimmel does amazing work with the film‘s very rich and colorful cinematography from the grimy yet naturalistic look of the scenes of rural Mexico with the evocative images of the banana plantation as well as the vibrant look of Mexico City. Editor Alex Rodriguez does fantastic work in utilizing some stylish jump-cuts and other offbeat rhythms to play into the film‘s humorous tone. Production designer Eugenio Caballero does nice work with the set design from the look of the village where Beto and Tato lived with their family to the posh world of Mexico City. Costume designers Annai Ramos and Anna Terrazas do terrific work with the costumes from the more ragged look of the brothers in their rural environment to the more posh clothes they would wear in more upscale parties.

Visual effects supervisor Richard Briscoe does some good work with some of the minimal visual effects for a key moment in the film‘s ending as well as a few of the action in the futbol games. Sound designers Martin Hernandez and Alejandro Quevedo do brilliant work with the sound to capture the intimacy that goes on in the smaller moments at their homes as well as the raucous atmosphere of the futbol stadiums. The film’s music by Lenocio Lara and Felipe Perez Santiago is excellent for being very upbeat with its use of accordions and traditional Mexican instruments to play into its humor while music supervisor Annette Fradera brings in a soundtrack that includes lots of ranchero and other forms of Mexican music plus two different covers of Cheap Trick‘s I Want You to Want Me performed by Gael Garcia Bernal in a ranchero style and a more rock style by Los Odio! featuring Juan Son.

The casting by Kimberly Mullen, Mark Mullen, and Manuel Teil is wonderful as it features some notable small roles from Alfredo Alonso as a renowned drug lord in Don Casimiro who would marry Beto and Tato’s sister, Salvador Zerboni as Tato’s coach, Tania Esmerelda Aguilar as Beto and Tato’s sister Nadia, and Joaquin Cosio as Beto and Tato’s stepfather Arnulfo who often abuses their mother. Adriana Paz is terrific as Beto’s wife Tona who tries to get Beto to see reason while preferring to have the simpler life rather than the more tumultuous one her husband is in. Jessica Mas is very good as the model Maya Vega whose beauty entrances Tato as she is a woman that just wants to be with Tato because he’s the new hot star. Dolores Heredia is superb as Beto and Tato’s mother who hopes for the best for her two sons as she is a source of inspiration for the boys to succeed.

Guillermo Francella is brilliant as the talent scout Batuta as he’s a man that is very wise and can often bullshit his way into any kind of negotiation as Francella brings a lot of charm to the role while always having a fine woman at his side just to show how cool he is. Finally, there’s the duo of Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal in their respective roles as Beto and Tato as they both give marvelous performances. Luna brings an aggressiveness that allows his character to earn his nickname as he is someone who is wracked with conflict in wanting to do great but becomes homesick as he would gain a gambling problem. Bernal brings a swagger and humor to his role as a wannabe singer who has no clue about the fickleness of the music business. Bernal and Luna have great rapport together as they showcase the love-hate relationship between brothers through good and bad times.

Rudo y Cursi is a phenomenal film from Carlos Cuaron that features fantastic performances from Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. It’s a film that is thoroughly entertaining in the way it explores the world of Mexican futbol as well as the tumultuous relationship between brothers. In the end, Rudo y Cursi is a sensational film from Carlos Cuaron.

© thevoid99 2014


Dell said...

This is such a fun movie. A perfect choice since it is World Cup time. Gael Garcia Bernal is a phenomenal actor whom I wish was a bigger star here in the States. I've enjoyed him in everything I've seen him in.

thevoid99 said...

I enjoyed the hell out of this film as I decided to rewatch it just for fun as it's World Cup season. Gael should be a fucking superstar in the U.S. but they seem to prefer less-talented actors instead. Plus, I love that cheesy-ass video he did to I Want You to Want Me and all of the cursing in that film.