This movie almost makes its mark, until you get right to the end, and it’s revealed to have many layers of plot magic

Featuring

José Coronado as Jaime Peña
Belén Rueda as Mayka Villaverde Freire
Hugo Silva as Alejandro “Álex” Ulloa Marcos
Aura Garrido as Carla Miller/Eva Peña

Normally, I don’t watch too many movies where I don’t understand the spoken language, but the few that I have watched, like City of the Gods, have been excellent and thought-provoking. This is usually in complete contrast to some of the movies that come out of Hollywood, which is A Good Thing.

El Cuerpo, literally translated as The Body, sets an interesting premise. Alex’s wife, Mayka, has just died suddenly of a heart attack, and he’s in mourning. Well, he would be mourning the loss of his wife, if he wasn’t having an affair with Carla. He gets a call from the Detective Peña, telling him that his wife’s body is missing and that he is to be interviewed regarding the disappearance.

This immediately sets up the story, as to why his wife died, whether she knew about the affair with Carla, and whether he will tell the truth about why it’s strongly hinted he poisoned his wife. In this vein, Alex is placed in situations where he’s trapped in the morgue, trapped in the men’s toilets, ensuring the story is helped along by flashbacks of Alex’s memories, finding out why he married Mayka, who’s much older than he is, but certainly wealthy and powerful, as well as finding out any motive for her death.

Throughout the story, you feel less and less sympathy for Alex, despite his brooding, puppy dog eyes, because of the humongous mess he creates for himself. This prick gets what’s coming to him, given the choices he made in life. You also don’t feel bad for Mayka, who turns out to be a manipulative woman who revels in seeing her husband squirm. But the real coup de grace comes right at the end, because the writers made this intriguing conspiracy story and had to tie it up.

Predictably, the story needed a lot of plot magic and suspension of disbelief, resulting in the audience wondering if that was the best the writers could come up with. The only sympathy you have is for you, the audience, who had to sit through a good thriller/light horror movie, anticipating this awesome climax, only to have a deus ex plot device thrown in your face and leaving you disappointed.

So, if you like detective thrillers, with some thoroughly unlikable protagonists, El Cuerpo is the movie for you. The mystery is a great setup and the pacing is actually quite good. The only disappointing thing is the silliness of the ending, which takes away some of the shine of the rest of the movie.

Rating

A decent mystery detective movie, let down by some lazy tying up of loose ends in the end.

Should I watch this?

If you’re easily impressed by superficially smart writing, sure. But once the credits are over, you’ll wonder just how they came up with it all.

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