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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the woods . . .
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...
Published on August 27, 2007 by Ronald Scheer

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars reprehensible main character, slow, illogical plot
A taxidermist turns robber, with little explanation or logic to the shift in "careers". Spoiler alert: he accidentally shoots a man in the woods, after the movie sets him up as someone who has issues with killing (explicitly animals and there is an oblique reference to his bad memories of his military service). But after the shooting he shows no apparent remorse, and...
Published 16 months ago by DjLeibniz


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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the woods . . ., August 27, 2007
This review is from: The Aura (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 Withdrawn and hyper vigilant, he's a detail obsessed taxidermist who goes hunting with an acquaintance in the woods and while in pursuit of a deer shoots a man instead.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
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Watch the Fuse Burn, November 1, 2007
This review is from: The Aura (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
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent albeit extremely unusual Argentinian thriller..., April 12, 2007
This review is from: The Aura (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
5.0 out of 5 stars What Might Have Been, May 21, 2008
This review is from: The Aura (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The late Fabián Bielinsky expertly ratchets up the tension in this intelligent movie, July 17, 2010
This review is from: The Aura (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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful and engaging, July 12, 2008
This review is from: The Aura (DVD)
It's sad Fabián Bielinsky died (young) after making this film because El Aura demonstrates clearly that its director has mastered his domain. There are a few puzzling moments in the script and its characters, but this isn't one of those "Don't go in that room!" thrillers, it's old-school/neo-noir; quietly intense and full of suspense.

Ricardo Darín's peculiarly charactered performance is executed with such subtlety and nuance that it's hard to believe he's acting. The sound design and original score are beautiful, and so perfect for the film, they seem to be growing out of it rather than being imposed upon it. There are times when the lack of any soundtrack is deafening. The droning tensions and lilting piano ennui disappear, punctuating the moments of action with a moribund silence.

Sometimes I complain when a film ends with such ambiguity it appears to be a cop-out. But not here. The ending will make you rethink the journey you were just on but it won't devalue its magnificence. This is one of those rare films where the ride is so engaging that its hard to imagine anything but disappointment merely because it does end.

"Aura" is what doctors use to describe the moment before falling into epileptic seizure. Ricardo Darín's character describes it as a moment of pure freedom. The inevitable is so clear that decisions are impossible, hence ... Freedom. Clarity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great...!, October 23, 2006
By 
Mastorna "8 1/2" (Dominican Republic) - See all my reviews
This review is from: El Aura (DVD)
This movie has a lot of the qualities which build a great masterpiece. Great depth and complexity to the characters and the lingering tensions they exude. Another element I loved about this picture is the exquisite photography ( the scrutinizing canine eyes.... the dog that knows and gets a taste of it ), I loved the lingering remark of the 800 kilometers driven which build up the sinister colloquialism of one of the characters. Great Latin American director, a pity he died so early.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If A Crime Happens in the Forest..., September 8, 2007
By 
This review is from: The Aura (DVD)
For an epileptic, robbing banks, casinos, and armored cars poses some unique challenges.
Esteban is a mild mannered taxidermist, prone to grand mal seizures. Right before a seizure he experiences auras, which he eloquently describes as a moment in time when he knows something [a seizure] is going to happen, and has absolutely no control over it.

Esteban spends his days fantasizing about committing the perfect heist, while quietly selecting glass eyes for his customer's recent trophy kills. He has the perfect job for daydreaming about an elegant crime where everything goes as planned, and no one gets hurt. Clearly it's been a while since Esteban rented `Reservoir Dogs'.

Set in the woods outside Buenos Aires, `The Aura' is a well-timed, crime thriller. It has all the elements of an urban genre: a down-on-his-luck protagonist, a mysterious woman, and some really, really, bad guys.

Although he is not a hunter, Esteban begrudgingly agrees to take a hunting trip with his buddy. An overbooked hotel manager recommends a nearby rustic hunting lodge run by a husband and wife. Deep in the woods, and angered by his friend's chiding, he decides to shoot a deer. This single action brings reality to Esteban's dream, as he fits himself into the planning and execution of an armored car robbery.

Much like a seizure, once his plan is set in motion, it roars out of control, with violent and unique consequences. Starring Ricardo Darin as Esteban. Darin also played the arrogant con man in `Nine Queens', which was later remade in the US as `The Criminal' starring John C. Riley.
`The Aura' is in Spanish with English subtitles.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent albeit extremely unusual Argentinian thriller..., November 23, 2006
This review is from: El Aura (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 Darin), 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New 'take' on a crime thriller from Argentinia, November 30, 2008
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This review is from: The Aura (DVD)
If you have the patience and interest to watch a completely different style of filmaking at complete odds with the way its done in Hollywood then this is for you. At 2 hours its long but the slow build up pays dividends in a way it is extremely unusual to see from movies made in the USA . From the Director who made his reputation with NIne Queens, a Movie about a confidence trick . (That movie was an International hit and highly recommendedit .) "Aura" has all the polish and surprises you would like to see in a crime thriller. One scene in particular had me gripped to the edge of my seat yet virtually all the action in it took place off screen and you were wondering what exactly was going on out of view! Having rented this from Blockbuster I immediately ordered a copy for my collection and believe me , I am very fussy as to what I buy!
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The Aura
The Aura by Fabián Bielinsky (DVD - 2007)
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