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The Aura

74 customer reviews

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The Aura + Nine Queens + The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

(Drama/Thriller) A shy taxidermist who secretly dreams of executing the perfect robbery stumbles upon an opportunity. Caught up in a world of complexities and frightening violence, his lack of experience puts him in real danger. Plus, he is an epileptic. Before each seizure he is visited by the "aura'' -- a paradoxical moment of confusion and enlightenment where the past and future seem to blend. Argentina's official submission, Best Foreign Language Film for the 2006 Academy Awards.

The Aura will go down in history as a great film with a tragic loss attached to it. This totally original and deeply involving thriller was the second and final feature film by Fabián Bielinsky, a gifted Argentinian writer-director whose debut feature, Nine Queens, earned global acclaim and introduced Bielinsky as a talent to watch. Sadly, Bielinsky died of a sudden heart attack in June 2006, at age 47, and we'll never know what other great films he might have made. The Aura stands as testament to Bielinsky's masterful skill, on full display in this riveting study of a sad and lonely taxidermist named Espinosa (played by Ricardo Darín, who was also in Nine Queens) who compensates for his disappointing life by imagining elaborate crimes that he's planned to perfection. When a hunting accident results in the death of a criminal mastermind who'd been planning a casino heist, the taxidermist (who possesses a photographic memory and suffers from occasional blackouts caused by epileptic seizures) assumes the dead man's role, improvising his way through the crime-plot with untrustworthy partners and the constant threat of danger.

The film's title refers to the semi-conscious fugue state that precedes the taxidermist's epileptic seizures, inducing a sense of disorientation and dread that Bielinsky uses to deepen the film's psychological impact. Darín's dour, worried expression is a fascinating focal point for his character's unpredictable journey into the heart of darkness, and The Aura's primary setting, in the thick forest of Patagonia, is a perfect complement to the film's ominous atmosphere and deliberately paced intrigue. As far-fetched as it may seem at times, the plot's heightened reality remains utterly convincing, and Bielinsky demonstrates an uncanny knack for escalating suspense in quietly intense situations. From start to finish, The Aura is clearly the work of a filmmaker with seemingly limitless potential, and we can only wonder about the excellent films Bielinsky would have made had he lived. Unfortunately, two slight DVD extras on The Aura give us no insight into Bielinsky's too-short career: the "making of" featurette is very brief and consists primarily of an interview with Ricardo Darín, and the behind-the-scenes musical montage is an equally short and perfunctory assembly of production video set to the moody, electronic tones of Lucio Godoy's subtly effective score. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Making-of
  • Behind-the-scenes: a musical montage
  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Ricardo Darín, Manuel Rodal, Dolores Fonzi, Pablo Cedrón, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart
  • Directors: Fabián Bielinsky
  • Writers: Fabián Bielinsky
  • Producers: Ariel Saúl, Augusto Greco, Cecilia Bossi, Diego Conejero, Gerardo Herrero
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Ifc
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Domestic Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • International Shipping: This item can be shipped to over 75 destinations outside of the U.S. Learn More
  • ASIN: B000K2V7F0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,619 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Aura" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on August 27, 2007
Format: DVD
Don't be put off by the violence of the image on the DVD cover for this film by Argentine director Fabián Bielinsky. It represents one brief moment in an off-beat heist movie that is full of twists and turns that defy expectations. Focused as it is on the mental and emotional state of the lead character, played by Ricardo Darín, it takes a while to even come together around a heist. Withdrawn and hyper vigilant, he's a detail obsessed taxidermist who goes hunting with an acquaintance in the woods and while in pursuit of a deer shoots a man instead. And thus begins an escapade full of deceit, danger, and increasingly high stakes, all complicated by the main character's epileptic condition that produces seizures at inopportune moments.

Darín is just fine as the taxidermist hero, rarely giving us more than a single intense expression registering puzzlement, concentration, confusion, fear, or fascination with whatever he is observing. A robbery, which he watches from across the street, has the creepy verisimilitude of amateur news media footage, random gunshots fired by unseen shooters and figures running for cover. Meanwhile, scenes set in deep woods alternate with barren and desolate expanses crossed by hard-top roads leading to distant towns. As with Bielinsky's previous feature "Nine Queens," this film mixes genres that lead to interesting ambiguities and unexpected results. Recommended for fans of crime films with some psychological depth.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas D. Butler on November 1, 2007
Format: DVD
This is just flat out one of the smartest contemporary heist films I've seen -- Darin is completely believable and the editing is sublime. Really, how many times do you hear someone talk about a film's skillful editing? Don't get me wrong, it's subtle and takes meticiulous care in building, so don't expect anything like The French Connection, but if you're patient enough to watch the fuse burn then the fireworks will ignite in your head. (9/10)
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By B. Alcat on April 12, 2007
Format: DVD
"El aura" is an excellent albeit extremely unusual thriller directed by Fabián Bielinsky. Bielinsky is a recently deceased Argentinian director who was also responsible for other great movies, for example the critically acclaimed "Nueve reinas" ("Nine queens"). "El aura" is very different from "Nueve reinas", but both movies share some common traits, like their originality and the ability to easily enthrall the spectator.

The main character of "El aura" is Esteban Espinosa (Ricardo Darín), an epileptict taxidermist whose favorite pastime is to plan crimes he never carries out. The title of this film makes reference to the specific moments when Esteban knows he is going to suffer an epileptic seizure, something that in his case is triggered by stressful situations. However, and due to the fact that Esteban leads a rather boring life, that doesn't happen a lot.

One day, though, something changes. Esteban's wife leaves him, and, without knowing what to do or what to think, he decides to go hunting to the Patagonian forest.with an acquaintance. That is a strange decision, but things get even weirder when he ends up killing an unlikely prey. The result is a very strange situation that presents him with the unique opportunity of making use of his ability to plan, if he is daring enough to seize the chance.

On the whole, I think that "El aura" is the kind of movie you are likely to enjoy, specially if you are fond of thrillers that don't lack originality. Highly recommended!

Belen Alcat
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Carragher on May 21, 2008
Format: DVD
I wish we could have had a dozen films or more from director Fabian Bielinsky, but because he died of a heart attack in 2006 at only 46, we have only Nine Queens and The Aura. Ricardo Darin, a veteran Argentine actor, worked in both (so did several others in the cast, I think) and he is superb here as Espinosa, a reclusive, fairly unlikeable taxidermist who has long plotted in his mind the perfect heist. Circumstances give him the chance to make his plots real in the forests and open spaces of Patagonia. He is both drawn to and repelled by the opportunity. He also finds himself less perfect in the execution than in the fantasy. What results is a character study -- as my wife commented, you don't ever really like Espinosa, but you always want him to succeed -- and intricately paced and plotted heist movie. The sometimes beautiful and sometimes desolate setting, the camera work, the acting -- almost every character is trapped in some desperate personal situation -- and Bielinsky's command come together for a unnerving and riveting movie that feels much shorter than its running time of over two hours. Don't miss it.
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Format: DVD
I second the guidance I see expressed here in one of the spotlight reviews: don't be put off by the cover image, which represents a very quick passage in the film. Though the fear in 'The Aura' is palpable and threat of death becomes more of a possibility as writer/director Fabián Bielinsky expertly ratchets up the tension, the take of this intelligent movie is for the viewer to imagine the possible consequences.

If you enjoyed Bielinsky teaming with the great Ricardo Darín (El Secreto De Sus Ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes)) in the spectacular Nine Queens (a movie David Mamet might wish he wrote), then you're a slam dunk lock to dig 'The Aura.' This was Bielinksy's last film before he died suddenly of a heart attack in 2006. For fans, he left a filmography that is all too short. 'The Aura' serves as a bittersweet reminder of what might have been.

Another reason to watch: sultry Argentinian actress Dolores Fonzi (as Diana Dietrich). Readers of the Journal of Popular Studies (a.k.a., People magazine) will recognize the name: she's the (erstwhile?) girlfriend of Gael García Bernal and mother (though some are disputing that) of his son, Lázaro.
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