Made in: Spain
Language: Spanish, English, French
Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Starring: Leonardo Sbaraglia, Eusebio Poncela, Mónica López, Max Von Sydow, Antonio Dechent, Paz Gómez
Year: 2001

Synopsis: Federico (Eusebio Poncela) has the odd, supernatural gift of luck. He works at an isolated casino, where, with a single touch, he can take a gambler's luck away and benefit from it like a parasite.

But when he tries to leave the casino, his mentor Samuel (Max Von Sydow) takes away Federico's magnificent gift, rendering him an ordinary person.

For the next seven years, Federico seeks out another "lucky" individual...a protégé with a similar gift who can help Federico exact revenge. Federico finds his hope in Tomás (Leonardo Sbaraglia), the lone survivor of a freak plane crash. The only problem is that Tomás is a former bank robber who's on the run from federal authorities.

Federico introduces the skeptical Tomás to a bizarre underworld where luck is gambled, collected, and lost in strange games of chance. And before long, he proves to be a being who might just be powerful enough to take on Samuel.

Hot on their trail is Sara (Mónica López), a federal agent with a gift similar to Tomás'. As the games become more dangerous and the stakes increase, Intacto becomes a strange tale of fate, chance, and intertwining destinies.

The Good: Intacto operates on a very intriguing premise, and the story is a well balanced blend of drama, suspense, and fantasy. The actors are all strong, and the veteran Max Von Sydow gives another standout performance.

Most of the twists are clever, and it'll pretty much keep you guessing until the end.

The Bad: Despite a strong first half, the film does sort of falter under the logic of its own premise. Although the idea of presenting luck as a usable commodity is very creative and cleverly presented, such a concept is arguably too subjective and broad to fully wrap your head around.

Federico's endgame isn't entirely clear, and Mónica López's character doesn't seem fully developed.

Who would like this movie: Intacto is for you if you enjoy foreign films, and enjoy supernatural themes that are visually grounded in reality. The plotline of the story is intriguing, and there are a number of dramatic moments that are very compelling. There are flaws pertaining to logic and the ending isn't all that clear, but it leaves plenty of room for discussion.

The supernatural element of the film made me think of M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable, but I found Intacto a more satisfying picture despite its ambiguities. If you're going to watch it, be sure to do so with people who like talking about movies and what they mean.

(3 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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