Thursday 7 February 2013

Dark Review - Fausto 5.0

I have always had a liking for films and novels based on the Faustian idea of selling your soul to the devil for the reward of earthly delights. Not because I would enter such an agreement myself, but just from sheer fascination with the concept. So when I was browsing HMV's World Cinema section and saw Fausto 5.0 for not much money, I thought I would take a punt on it.

It is in Spanish with English subtitles, which is fine by me but if you cannot tolerate subtitles, I pity you. It follows the trials and tribulations of Dr Fausto as he travels to a medical convention and runs into an old patient of his who has miraculously survived a serious illness, thanks in no small part to Dr Fausto. He wants to make Fausto happy, and offers to grant him favours. This sets the scene for the film to slowly evolve, the favours become "wishes" and Fausto slowly makes the transformation from resisting to revelling in his own darker nature. As all good Faustian tales though, he doesn't get it all his own way and is toyed with and tricked on more than one occasion.

I felt the film was quite subtle in some ways, brash in others. The start of the film is interlaced with murk and gloom, the main character experiencing frightening thoughts and things just seeming sinister. A good example of this is a pack of dark hounds running beside the train he is travelling on. As the story develops, it uses coincidence very effectively to give the feeling of Fausto being stalked by his old patient, and leaving the viewer wondering how the patient is doing it and what he really is. I was quite impressed that the film stayed away from the more obvious aspects of the Faust story, such as literally asking Fausto to sign his soul away. There is one scene near the end where it might have happened, but that could have simply been a playful nod to the audience with a roguish wink thrown in for good measure.

I watched this film with the classic Faust story firmly in mind. The film was broadly true to the overall idea but went its own way in certain areas with the execution, which I applaud. When the credits rolled, I felt wholly satisfied with what I had seen and will enjoy another viewing at some later date I am sure.

Rating : 4.5/5