‘The Nameless’ looks beautiful, but could have used a better story

[rating=2]Starring: Emma Vilarasau, Karra Elejalde, Tristán Ulloa
Director(s): Jaume Balagueró
Writer(s): Screenplay by Jaume Balagueró; Based upon the novel by Ramsey Campbell

Emma Vilarasau and Karra Elejalde face a bizarre terror in 'The Nameless'
Emma Vilarasau and Karra Elejalde face a bizarre terror in ‘The Nameless’

When I first sat down to watch The Nameless, I really wasn’t in the mood to read a movie. I’ve been watching a lot of foreign films lately, and honestly have been getting a little tired of reading subtitles. So, I started watching it with the English dubbing.

And it was terrible.

I only got about a scene into the movie before I had to turn it off. Somehow it just sounded… goofy. The performances all had this silly, cartoonish tone. I had to switch back to the subtitles, and I was glad I did.The Nameless became instantly more enjoyable.

That’s not to say it was a great movie, but if you do watch it, I highly recommend sticking to the subtitles.

As for the film itself, The Nameless is beautifully shot. The story is a little silly, and kind of dragged out by writer tricks more than anything natural. For example, several times scenes end conveniently before the audience can get any answers, all to keep the ending a surprise. I liked the film until about half way through. At that point it’s pretty clear the film isn’t going to really explain anything, leaving that information for the last five to ten minutes of the movie.

The Nameless starts off with a detective arriving on the scene where the body of a young girl is found, burned head to toe with acid. All identifying traits destroyed accept for the fact that one leg is shorter than the other.

Skip ahead five years later. The girl’s mother, Claudia, is still distraught over the death of her daughter. Her marriage has long since ended. While home one day, she receives a mysterious phone call, apparently from her daughter, claiming to that she is still alive. The mother is sent to an old building, where she recovers her daughter’s leg brace, which disappeared with her years earlier.

Claudia reconnects with the detective who investigated her daughter’s death, who has since left the force after the death of his wife, and the two struggle to put the strange pieces together about what really happened to her daughter. Then, with the help of a magazine writer, they discover an evil cult that may hold the key to young girl’s true fate.

That’s kind of a vague description, but honestly to explain more would pretty much give a lot away. The mystery here isn’t really much of a mystery, which is probably why the story doesn’t explain much until the very end. Once the general concept of who the bad guys are is supplied, that’s pretty much it. There’s only a minor mystery left, and its explained at the end.

While I liked the concept here, the execution was more glam than anything else. Strange quick cuts of video images are interspersed throughout the film, but none of which tell you anything. They’re actually a bit annoying. The film tries very hard to be dark and brooding, and works on a certain level, but ultimately proves disappointing.

You have to blame Se7en for films like this. That first, brilliant film has been so copied and brought to extremes since. Who would have thought that a film like Se7en would become tame someday? This film shares the same mood and tone, but takes its shock ending to further extremes.

The problem here, though, is that you ultimately don’t care that much about the characters. When the ending does come, there’s not much of an emotional investment. Characters you see only momentarily seem to be given more attention at the end than the ones you’ve been with for most of the movie.

The DVD has no special features, and that’s a shame, because I would have liked to have learned a little more about the making of The Nameless.

Rated: R
Run Time: 1 hr., 42 mins.

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan has written, directed and produced more than a dozen short films under the banner of Maynard Films, and has worked as a writer for more than a decade for websites, magazines and newspapers.

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