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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 10.17.17] Argentina thriller

If you're looking for a double feature of low-brow heist movies that are far better than they have any right to be, you need look no further than Steven Soderbergh's Logan Lucky and Rodrigo Grande's Argentinean thriller At the End of the Tunnel.

Leonardo Sbaraglia stars as Joaquin, a paraplegic engineer who lives alone in a big house a couple of doors down from a bank. When he starts hearing noises from the house next door, he begins to use his endless amounts of free time to observe what the neighbours are up to and it quickly becomes apparent that they're planning a robbery via a tunnel that will come directly under his home. So Joaquin devises a plan to get to the bank first, steal some of the money and get away before the robbers ever figure out what happened except, things don't end up quite as planned.

It's a ludicrous set-up and one that gets even more ridiculous when a woman and her daughter move into Joaquin's spare upstairs bedroom but alas, there's something charming about Sbraglia and his gruff demeanour which occasionally falls away to reveal a really caring man, and his relationship with Berta and her daughter Betty. And of course, there's the promise of a bank robbery...

And the robbery is a thing of glorious stupidity. These robbers are a comedy of errors and everything that could go wrong does, mostly in headshaking recklessness. The red herrings and near misses are legitimately played for laughs and though the second act goes on for way too long, the third act is a real winner full of well earned belly laughs and a couple of great payoff moments.

Though both Clara Lago and Uma Salduende as Beta and Betty respectively, give great performances, the women seem unnecessarily crammed into the story to give Joaquim an emotional story arc which is completely unnecessary, though Betty does have a wonderfully amusing scene which plays into the movie's finale, the women mostly only add unnecessary padding to an already slightly too-long movie.

It's not particularly original and the foreshadowing is telegraphed from a mile away but
Grande's movie has been making the festival rounds for a while and it's clear to see why. Despite the preposterous set-up and the ridiculous unfolding of events, At the End of the Tunnel is a total crowd pleaser; chalk it up to a brilliantly hilarious ending.

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