Amat Escalante’s Beguiling Mexican Mystery

Amat Escalante’s Beguiling Mexican Mystery

Seven years after his mesmerizing sci-fi drama on extraterrestrial sex, “The Untamed,” genre-defying Mexican auteur Amat Escalante switches gears once again to try his hand at a sharp-edged, quasi-detective story with “Lost in the Night.” His approach expectedly deviates from a straightforward whodunit. Escalante rejects both simplified villainy and stainless heroism, crafting individuals with clear motivations who never stop to consider their actions through a moral filter. The result is an at times jarring but always intriguing enigma that escapes facile classification, especially because it tends to veer into absurdism.

In just a handful of years since his breakout role in Fernando Frías de la Parra’s “I’m No Longer Here,” Juan Daniel García Treviño has become a familiar face in Mexican cinema, usually playing a member of a criminal organization. Here, Escalante pushes against such typecasting and places him on the righteous side of the fence, as Emiliano, a regret-ridden son of an activist mother who was abducted — and likely murdered — by the corrupt local police as retribution for opposing a Canadian mine in their rural town.

When asked to carry out custodian duties at a wealthy family’s home, Emiliano agrees. He
suspects the owners know what happened to his mother. The property itself, a piece of modernist architecture without lavish finishings, sticks out from the lakeside landscapes that Adrian Durazo photographs in all…

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The post “Amat Escalante’s Beguiling Mexican Mystery” by Peter Debruge was published on 02/03/2024 by