From the beginning, as the two parents are packing the car while the kids are sleeping, we can hear the mother ask her husband quietly if he really wants her to come. In the same – soft – manner, the movie will unveil the last days of their relationship, while the teenage daughter slowly realizes what’s going on.
What matters here is obviously not the destination but the inner turmoil of those 3 family members – the 4th member, a boy, being too young to understand. The filmmaker makes us experience the situation through the eyes of the girl as passive witnesses. As we start to figure out that the mother might have been cheating with a co-worker, the film starts shifting from neutrality to somewhat side with the dad – a feeling that is confirmed when the mother abruptly abandons them in the middle of the night.
While most – American – filmmakers would have translated such a premise into an explosive drama, to his credit, Ms. Sotomayor keeps it low-key, focusing on those invisible emotional and psychological forces and It’s not difficult to see here her influences: With its use of the desert as backdrop, Michelangelo Antonioni (Zabriskie Point) obviously comes to mind as well as Abbas Kiarostami’s latest works (Like Someone in Love, Certified Copy) for his use of a car as a main setting.
To make such movies work though, you need to convey something strong to keep the spectators’ interest, while they are confined in those bare environments; for example, Mr. Antonioni offered a colorful portrait of the 60s in Zabriskie Point while Mr. Kiarostami delivered a philosophical discussion in Certified Copy. The problem with Ms. Sotomayor’s movie is that it lacks this strength. Because everything is toned down, there is nothing to contrast with the desert landscapes and claustrophobic car setting. As a result, Thursday till Sunday remains flat, failing at transporting us beyond its self-imposed limited boundaries. After a while, the film turns into a draining experience, with not much to say and nowhere to bring us. This is a breakup story we have seen many times, in other settings, and the characters’ lack of reaction makes the whole thing quite uneventful. This is even more disappointing that we don’t get the chance to watch movies from Chile that often and there is no cultural, social or political dimension to that story to make it worth it.
Director: Dominga Sotomayor – Actors: Santi Ahumada, Emiliano Freifeld – Running Time: 1:36 – Year: 2012 – Country: Chile