2018, Movies

Museo (2018, Alonso Ruizpalacios)

This is a super hyper stylized, completely fantastical depiction of what is apparently the most notorious “art” heist in Mexican history. The movie makes no bones about how inaccurate it is – stating multiple times that it is not the true story – so do not go into this movie expecting a docudrama.

But also don’t come to this movie thinking you’re in for any kind of conventional heist film. There is a heist in this movie, and it’s mostly well done, but it’s only part of what is a very weird but every entertaining film.

It’s almost as if the filmmakers wanted to say “this is how many ways we can tell this story.” That kind of pretension might be really frustrating in a film that isn’t entertaining but fortunately this film manages to be both funny and dramatic in equal turns. (There are massive tonal shifts too, but somehow they do not feel inappropriate.) 

Earlier I said it was hyper stylized. Well, there are so many scenes in this film that are just flat out bonkers, for example:

  • For much of the film, music is used as if this film was made in the 1950s in Hollywood, either by using existing music or a score that is used in ways that scores are no longer used
  • There’s a tableaux scene
  • There are multiple camera techniques, including hand held and steadicam, and soft focus, etc
  • There’s an old Hollywood-style fight scene (seriously!)
  • And many, many more weird oddities.

But somehow, these weird stylistic touches do not feel out of place, perhaps because the film is so upfront with how this is just a story, and not the true version of the heist.  It really doesn’t make sense to me on paper, but I enjoyed myself immensely and I cannot really say anything in criticism. It’s some kind of miracle that a film with this many styles and this many tonal shifts could work but it somehow does.


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