It’s nice to see an artist switch gears and go into territory most believe to be foreign to them. Writer/director Luiso Berdejo, best known for his foray into the horror genre with films such as “REC” and “Quarantine,” does just that with his latest film, “Violet.”
“Violet” is the charming tale of Alex (Junio Valverde) and his quest to find his true love, who just so happens to reveal herself to him in a Polaroid he purchases at a flea market.
Valverde is wonderful in his role and is believable as a man obsessed with his quest. He also embodies that “lost puppy” element that keeps us rooting for him the entire film. His general likability is another aspect he uses to his advantage to win over the audience.
We meet Alex and his friend 5 (Leticia Dolera) looking through photos that Alex purchases from the flea market. But as they’re going through and trying to categorize them, Alex sees the face of an attractive blonde staring back at him. He’s instantly mesmerized by her and then begins his journey to find her without knowing who she is or where she could be.
Being the perfect wingman or, in this instance, wingwoman, 5 does everything she can to help out all the while showing the heavy heart she has as Alex’s attention is going to another woman.
Dolera does most of her acting with her eyes and body movements — something with which most actors would struggle but that she makes believable. Her scene at a Thanksgiving dinner when a single tear trickles down her face is heartbreaking, and her quirky good looks and keen sense of humor make 5 a great character.
Their journey takes them to unexpected geographic, and emotional destinations, as Alex’s pursuit of Violet Street (the name he’s given his mythical beauty) becomes entwined with Alex’s grandfather. It’s to this ancestor that sage Solomon (Carlos Bardem) says Alex must make an offering if he is to find Violet.
Bardem is a blast as Solomon, doling out his nuggets of wisdom from a hot tub and launching an anti-Facebook diatribe as priceless as it is very, very accurate. Although only onscreen for a few minutes, Bardem (Oscar winner Javier Bardem’s younger brother) commands your attention and helps steer Alex down the right path.
The film is also wonderfully shot — utilizing traditional 35mm film, as well as 8mm and video. The use of video during Alex’s visions of his grandfather gives the moment a surreal, dreamlike feel that is absolutely perfect.
Working off his own screenplay, Berdejo strikes the perfect tone and pace. Although it’s a departure for him, it clearly embodies his distinctive style, and his voice resonates loudly with this indie gem. With its story, acting and style in top form, “Violet” is one of my favorite films of the year and a breath of fresh air for Berdejo’s fans.
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