Thursday, April 1, 2010

Muerte de un Ciclista (Death of a Cyclist)

If a movie is in the Criterion Collection, it could be really good or really bad.  Or maybe really dull.  They collect "the greatest films from around the world" and release them on DVD.  So I guess they decided this is a great film, and that Juan Antonion Bardem is a great director.

The movie begins with a couple driving along and accidentally hitting a man on a bicycle.  They decide that rather than help him, they continue on their way, leaving him to die.  We learn that the woman is married to another man.  The progression of the movie shows their struggle keep their crime concealed while keeping their affair concealed.  Their decisions and resolution diverge as their guilt eats away at them.

As I've said before, I'm not a great judge of the quality of film making.  I'll leave that to the folks at Criterion.  The redeeming quality of this otherwise snoozer of a film is the moral lesson.  I've heard it said that integrity is what you do when no one is looking.  (I've heard that attributed to so many different people I won't even bother trying to track down the source.)  If you commit a crime and there's no way anyone can find out, would you turn yourself in?  In Death of a Cyclist, we see one character choose the way of concealment, and descend into a spiral of evil, while the other chooses integrity, and we see the freedom he feels from doing what is right.

Bottom line for me, 2 stars.

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