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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 02.10.15] Argentina drama western arthouse

Patagonia is stunning; the kind of place that feels out of time, untouched by the 21st century. In some areas it's barren and in others lush but harsh seems to be the other adjective that best describes it. A Spanish language trailer for Lisandro Alonso's Jauja peaked my interest on the project but actually seeing it was not a pleasant experience.

Mortensen stars as Captain Gunnar Dinesen, a man who has traveled to the beautiful locale to take on a job with the Argentine army in the late 1800s. When his teenage daughter runs off with one of the soldiers, Dinesen goes wondering through Patagonia in search of her.

Alonso's movie isn't an exciting or action packed western instead it's a pensive, occasionally violent but definitely slow burning metaphysical head trip. It's gorgeously shot, capturing the beauty and harshness of the locale, and Mortensen's performance is intense but Jauja was a bit too dense for me and beyond the theme of loneliness and humanity's insignificance in the universe. If there's more, and it feels like there should be more, I just didn't get it.

Jauja opens in limited release March 20.

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