Screened as part of NZIFF 2003
Intacto is an elegant, macabre thriller built on the alarming premise that luck is a transferable commodity. It’s not your soul that’s stolen when you have your photograph taken in this film, it’s your luck – and the thieves will be using it to gamble, risking your life in the process. Here the obviously lucky – the sole survivor of a plane crash, for example, or a veteran matador – are headhunted, then blindfolded to compete in elaborate, lethal games of chance. At the top of the luck hierarchy waits Samuel Berg (Max von Sydow), godlike and faintly weary, challenging all comers from the bunker of his plush desert casino. It takes a poker face to sustain these mind games, and Intacto sports a cast who show how, not to mention the sleek décor and design to pull even the most rational viewer unprotesting into the twilight zone. Spanish hotshot writer-director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo plays it suave and deadpan in a first film that would be impressive even if it were his twenty-first.