The Aura Fabian Bielinsky

The Aura Fabian Bielinsky

The Aura is the kind of heist picture Antonioni might have made, though that doesn’t necessarily convey what a unique, haunting experience the movie is. Made in Argentina, the film begins with its hero, Espinosa (Ricardo Darin), a lonely taxidermist, lying next to a bank machine recovering from an epileptic fit. Estranged from his wife and entertaining fantasies of committing the perfect robbery, he agrees to go on a hunting trip with a colleague in a remote forest location. After a decidedly unfriendly parting of the ways, Espinosa is left alone in the woods. Surprise being key to the movie’s impact, suffice it to say that he gets to participate in an actual heist, with devastating consequences. In any case, the bare plot outline may seem preposterous enough but seeing the film is another story. Unfolding with a spooky, enigmatic dream logic, The Aura is both a mesmerising character study and a gripping crime narrative. An overwhelming experience on the big screen, it may seem glacially slow to some, particularly in the comfort of one’s living room, but given half a chance it will creep under your skin. Credit for this must go largely to Darin’s compelling performance, and especially to the director. Sadly, this was Bielinsky’s final film, and only his second feature (the first being the 2000 con-artist movie Nine Queens, also starring Darin). Watching the film while aware of its creator’s sudden death by heart attack at age 47 grants it an extra layer of foreboding, even uncanniness. Certainly, international cinema was robbed of a major talent. The extras consist of a brief but more elegant than usual "making of” featurette, a trailer, and, by way of tribute, a 2002 interview with Bielinsky. (Warner/Seville)