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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Santiago de Chile, 1978
This is a clever movie that works on many different levels set in the sketchy world of ordinary life under Chile's Pinochet in the 70s. That world is backdrop for a main character, Raul Peralta, who is obsessed with the Saturday Night Fever character Tony Manero and who in his efforts to prepare for a local neighborhood stage performance of the movie, will stop at...
Published on May 6, 2010 by Green Manalishi

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Look at Chile under Pinochet, Encumbered by Its Shabby Style.
In late-1970s Chile, General Augusto Pinochet rules through terror, while Raul Peralta Peredes (Alfredo Castro) dreams of being Tony Manero, hero of the popular American movie "Saturday Night Fever" that plays at the local cinema. Raul is 52 years old, a sociopath who murders and steals whenever the whim strikes him, and he can't dance especially well. He lives and works...
Published on June 4, 2010 by mirasreviews


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Look at Chile under Pinochet, Encumbered by Its Shabby Style., June 4, 2010
This review is from: Tony Manero (DVD)
In late-1970s Chile, General Augusto Pinochet rules through terror, while Raul Peralta Peredes (Alfredo Castro) dreams of being Tony Manero, hero of the popular American movie "Saturday Night Fever" that plays at the local cinema. Raul is 52 years old, a sociopath who murders and steals whenever the whim strikes him, and he can't dance especially well. He lives and works at a small downscale restaurant that puts on something in the way of dinner theater. Raul, his lover Cony (Amparo Noguera), her daughter Pauli (Paola Lattus), and a young leftist employee named Goyo (Hector Morales) rehearse their version of "Saturday Night Fever"s dance moves for their little show, and Raul eagerly awaits his chance to become the "Chilean Tony Manero" in a television contest.

"Tony Manero" takes place over the course of a week, as Raul murders, steals, alternately ignores or abuses his companions, desperately constructs a glass dance floor that can be lit from below, and, well, awaits the chance to be judged the Chilean Tony Manero by a live television audience. Raul is a cruel man completely disconnected from life except for his "Saturday Night Fever" obsession. Raul's mores (he doesn't have any) are a metaphor for the Pinochet regime. And his obsession with a figure from American pop culture might be an anti-American statement about the relationship of Pinochet to the United States. Fine.

But Pablo Larrain has made a film so conspicuously low-budget and disjointed that the style overwhelms the content. Hand-held cameras, grainy interiors, disjointed snippets of behavior in self-consciously ugly environments may be the darling of Third World Marxists and certain self-indulgent European directors, but, frankly, it all looks the same. This style makes "Tony Manero" look like a thousand other films, even though the content is largely original. Alfredo Castro's performance is quite good, if repulsive, and it would carry a lot more weight if the style of the film were more seamless and focused. The metaphors are painfully obvious and the characters all completely unsympathetic, but it's the style that bogs "Tony Manero" down. In Spanish with optional English subtitles on the Kino 2010 DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Santiago de Chile, 1978, May 6, 2010
This review is from: Tony Manero (DVD)
This is a clever movie that works on many different levels set in the sketchy world of ordinary life under Chile's Pinochet in the 70s. That world is backdrop for a main character, Raul Peralta, who is obsessed with the Saturday Night Fever character Tony Manero and who in his efforts to prepare for a local neighborhood stage performance of the movie, will stop at nothing to ensure that everything is just PERFECT. It's an 'ends justify the means' routine for him that includes murdering an old lady in her home for her television (so he can get money to make his stage for the show). Nothing will stand in his way! Perhaps the character is meant to mirror Pinochet's own plan for running the country and on this level it goes beyond the black humor and touches the mind of art. Shot beautifully but with a feeling of 'anything goes' menace in poor Chilean neighborhoods, the movie is interesting to watch. It has occasional slow moments and scenes that may go on just a little longer than they should, but once you accept the cold-blooded psycho that Raul is, and also see how absurd his whole quest is, you can relax and enjoy the movie a little bit. Loved the ending.

"Tony Manero" is well worth seeing though I'd buy the British edition over this one - I'm a sucker for cover art, and the British "network" release looks better. That is the one I saw and also included were film festival interviews with the actor Alfredo Castro, who played the psychotic Raul ("Tony Manero"). Was glad to have that after the movie. In Spanish with English subtitles, this movie has a real heart of darkness, but at the same time there are elements of the absurd which suggest an almost subtle black humor which however is never blatant and no more than the sum of its parts. There's something of a clever wink at the end however which somehow puts things in just the right perspective and made me happy to have seen this movie. 4 or 5 stars depending on your criteria. It's not fast enough to be considered Hollywood fare, but I'll bet Criterion tries to get their hands on it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bunuel Lives!, March 31, 2013
This review is from: Tony Manero (DVD)
"Tony Manero" dangles 70's Chile from a nightmarish memory. Greed, insanity, and US Exports flit above the grunge world of Raul Peralta and rule this little man so desperately in tow to his ego. Sad, but undeniably alluring, Alfredo Castro plays Raul Peralta so perfectly. His deliberate movements, his unreadable but nonetheless hyper-expressive face, catch you up so that his periodic violent acts seem almost illusory. "Did I just see that?" How could I find myself rooting for him in the "Chilean Tony Manero" TV contest? And, at the end, why did I feel that an injustice had been done to HIM?

Pablo Larrain burst out onto the international scene with an Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film nomination for his film "No", the third in a trilogy with "Tony Manero". Having seen this and his second film in the group, "Post Mortem", I can see that Larrain works with essences. For "Tony Manero", it's horror. A film poem, succinct in it's message: all roads led to hell. Fever, sickness, horror! It's right out of Bunuel's Mexican period.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You can tell from the way I use my walk, I'm a Psychotic Killer, April 28, 2012
This review is from: Tony Manero (DVD)
I thought this was a comedy when I saw the trailer, but I was more wrong than a greased down gentleman's comb over. Speaking of `Grease' that is what inspired this film, well John Travolta anyway. The central character is Raul Peralta (Alfredo Castro) and he is a fifty two year old man in downtown Santiago of 1978. The whole world has contracted `Saturday Night Fever' and whilst lip synching to Bee Gees numbers loads of folk went out to learn the moves. Well Peralta did too and he also decided that he would actually become Tony Manero!

So he goes off and gets the suit and shirt made. He works at some flea pit night club where he puts on dance shows and has all the control freakery of a backstage diva having a fit over the wrong mineral water. He dyes his hair and constantly goes to the cinema to perfect his moves and learn every line of the film. Then he hears of a look a likie talent show on TV and he realises that he can be Chiles own Tony Manero and get the recognition he deserves. Only he turns up a week early and almost enters the Chuck Norris Look a likie show by mistake. Undeterred he deigns to recreate the glass dance floor from the film back at the ropey club. Only he can't afford the proper glass so opts for gardening glass bricks instead - genius.

However even though all of the above was great fun, we also see a side to him that is as harrowing as the Pinochet years themselves, he is a psychopath who will stop at nothing and no-one to get exactly what he wants. There is a lot of grubby bedroom grunting along the way and his under pants really could do with seeing the inside of a washing machine, but I found this absolutely absorbing, not the pants though, mind you they had absorbed quite a bit by the looks of them.

Whilst it went from funny to deeply disturbing it did so in such an unexpected way as if to re engage with your brain and make you start viewing this from a new perspective. One of the weirdest films I have seen and I do watch some unusual offerings, but I still thought this had a lot to gain merit, it's just under 100 minutes long and in Spanish, some English and with good sub titles, not one to watch with the family but one not to miss all the same.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Obsessed with Tony Manero, February 2, 2014
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This review is from: Tony Manero (Amazon Instant Video)
This movie is a deep, the character is on a quest to win a contest, "Who is the next Tony Manero" It's a foreign film, but I hardly noticed, as the dialogue moved along nicely. it's one of those movies where later on you begin to piece things together, into a moral story. This is the second time I've seen this movie, which is unusual for me, last time I'd seen it was about one year ago;
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5.0 out of 5 stars Morbid humor in disco fevor setting, January 19, 2013
This review is from: Tony Manero (DVD)
"Tony Manero" is a 2008 Chilean film by Pablo Larrain. Along with the newly released film "Post Mortem", (both of which are set in 1970's Santiago, Chile), this film showcases the masterful onscreen persona of leading actor Alfredo Castro. Castro has to be one of the most enigmatic characters to grace the screen in recent years. There is something lyrical, almost poetic about his deadpan mannerisms and blank stare. A wacked out 70's version of a male Mona Lisa comes to mind with the face of Castro, who in both films speaks volumes without uttering a word.

This film is obviously a Spanish production and comes with English subtitles, but the strength of Castro's lead could allow the story to be understood even without a verbal storyline. There is a Chaplinesque aura about Castro that can be both hilarious and scary, depending upon the interpretation. The same expression, which Castro can hold with nary a facial twitch for minutes, holds both a humor and terror within his intensity.

The setting of this Larrain film is also of great importance to the storyline. For whatever reason, 1970's Chile has captivated the director's imagination. This is a world of dictators and strong arm men, with loads violence and assasinations. Larrain's most recent collaboration with Castro covers this world with much more depth, as "Post Mortem" is set during the height of Pinochet's coup. Both of these films have a similar style of character from Castro, only "Post Mortem" is from the vantage point of mortician preforming autopsies, while "Tony Manero" is based on an obsessive disco lover whose only goal in life is to impersonate John Travolta's character from "Saturday Night Fever."

In both of Castro's preformances, there is a question of mental illness as portrayed in the main character. The bizarre combination of Larrain's settings and Castro's personification of the times makes for a wierd world where everyday life has taken on grotesque dimensions. Castro's character in "Tony Manero" exhibits an extremely violent streak, but his sheer magnistism almost allows the viewer to forgive him of his awful and sometimes demented transgressions.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What are you talkin about baby? Look that chick, she's dancing she's groovin man, April 4, 2011
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This review is from: Tony Manero (DVD)
Back in the 70's Santa was really exploring the studio space by parting with his long time band The Reflections, and taking up a career in the art of Disc Jockey. As he tore the roof off of parties on the regular he became somewhat of a local legend, being known as Santa "your delicious DJ." With giant square specs, a gold chain, gold stud earing, and a rapist wit he ruined more parties then anyone could imagine. Once he slowed things down by singing Unchained Melody, most of the parties occupants could be found rushing out the door to the safety of their cars. Now this is all just a distant memory but was all brought back to life with a little Tony Manero. Yet another bizarre D grade movie Santa saw overnight at work. And as you'd expect it was a complete loser fest with barely any salvaging moments to be found.

First off the movie is entirely in subtitles. Now subtitles aren't a problem, we like the refined aspect of them, but they don't translate when it comes down to be. Who wants to read while watching B? Most times your blasted beyond recognition and can barely walk across the highway to get yourself a coffee, let alone read an entire movie. But we were dealing with Santa here so getting ripped wasn't an option. Well not without a boatload of tears being shed. So this Tony Manero thing follows this nut job Raul around as he steals, kills, and rapes all for the benefit of putting on a play reenacting a dancing scene from Saturday Night Fever. And getting on a local access show to win the title of best Tony Manero impersonator. That's it...that's the whole story. The pace couldn't even be classified as slow because that would seem to fast. If it weren't for Santa I would have snapped the disc in half and ran down the road screaming "He's gone! the evils gone from here!"

Being that Santa brought this one to the table we could only assumed it would be horrific. Which is the reason the whole film was viewed. Sure even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while, but this just wasn't Santa's day. Being good B sports we toughed it out and gave Santa his dimly lit shine for and hour and a half. The only salvageable moments were when he freaked out after messing up some dance moves, by punching holes through the floor. And when he dropped a duece on his friends Tony Manero suit after fear of losing to him at the Manero look a like show. Other then those two moments this movie was complete trash. Odds are you'll never find it, not even in the Pathmark 3.99 bin. In fact you have a better chance at finding Death Ring, so don't be too worried about stumbling across it.
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Tony Manero
Tony Manero by Pablo Larrain (DVD - 2010)
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