Recommended By Enrique

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As I was reading the synopsis for Recommended by Enrique on the LA Film Fest guide, I couldn’t really figure out what this movie was about: saying something like “based on a bizarre true story about an aspiring actress and a mysterious cowboy stranded in a border town”, this film seemed to wander in Mulholland Drive territory, which was leaving me somewhat perplexed. Still, despite some reservations, I decided to give it a try and the lesson I learned here was that I should always follow my instinct.

Before thinking that, once again, I’m being harsh with a film, you should know that this is the screening where I saw the most people walking out and, to be frank, I kind of felt sorry for the people who had paid hard cash for their ticket. What they felt about this picture is most likely the same thing I did, which could be summarized in three capital letters, WTF?

As mentioned in my opening paragraph, Recommended by Enrique features two stories: one is about an aspiring Hollywood actress ending up in an amateur sci-fi shot by a bunch of teenagers while the other one follows an old Mexican cowboy carrying a couple plants (and it takes you no more than a couple minutes to figure out why he’s in town despite all that mystery).

While the film has a few amusing moments, mostly involving lead actress Sarah Swinwood, the whole thing is a nonsensical mess which explains why so many people couldn’t bare it any longer. To start with, at the Q&A, the two filmmakers – yes it took two directors- explained that the actress story was based on a true story that happened to them while the cowboy thread was simply there to counterbalance it. Translation: “we didn’t have enough content to make a feature film, so we added a second storyline, which has nothing to do with the original plot.” Not only have the two stories nothing in common, but the cowboy and the actress don’t even meet: they just sit in the same diner at the end, like it’s some kind of big payoff.

Watched independently, those two stories don’t have much to offer either: the one about the actress is pretty anecdotic and while I understand it must have been a weird real-life experience, there isn’t just enough happening to make a film out of it. As for the cowboy plot, it tries way too hard to make an artsy, bizarre film. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up on Twin Peaks and Buñuel, but this has all the flaws of a pretentious, self-aware work by a wannabe art student. As for the conclusion, it is just as uneventful as the rest of the film, making you wonder why you had to endure such a boring, chaotic work.

Well, now you’ve been warned: next time Enrique recommends something, run for your life …

Director: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia – Actors: Lino Varela, Sarah Swinwood – Running Time: 1:27 – Year: 2014 – Country: US

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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.