Bielinsky’s story takes us to the forests of Patagonia (located in Argentina) for its first act and many subsequent scenes. Checco Varese’s camera is cold and sequestered, and despite our familiarity with our surroundings, the aura casts a hypnotic spell.
Bielinsky’s neo-noir examines a man’s inner fantasies. The man is a taxidermist named Esteban Espinosa (Ricardo Darín, who was also in Nine Queens). A criminal is not who this man is—he is a taxidermist, and a damn good one at that. When he stitches animals together and glues beady eyes to their sockets, he is himself, sewing up the instinct to commit crimes and push boundaries. In the desolate forest, the beast’s temptation is unleashed, as the haunting, overly metaphorical wolf consistently reminds us.
Espinosa is like the two men in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope, who committed a murder just to see if they could get away with it. Though the “heroes” in both films are motivated by the simplistic “Could I?” theory, their gifted directors guide them into complex, layered films and performances.
The Aura suffers in its clock-ignorant pace, which tests its audiences’ patience. This extensive time allows not for a heist that could rival Rififi, but rather an examination of character. Even with that uniquely bold move, the story itself takes an eternity to hack through.
Bielinsky died five months after the film made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival. If Nine Queens garnered the director international followers, The Aura is likely to keep them and acquire a new bunch. The skillfully made The Aura further illustrates the talents and potential that Bielinsky had. He didn’t rely on cheap thrills for the film, but rather used his own delicate style to enhance the neo-noir.
Behind the Scenes: A Musical Montage (2:34): BTS footage set to the score from the film. Intriguing.
And the Theatrical Trailer.