Sitting through “Night of the Wild Boar” is like walking on cold coals: by the end, you’ve overcome no obstacle and just end up with dirty feet. Thankfully, it’s an easy movie to wipe away. Once the credits roll, viewers won’t remember a thing. That ends up being the one good quality of this movie: it leaves as quick as it came.
Somehow, though, these 71 minutes move at a glacial pace. Scene after scene is wrung out for all its worth until first time director Ramiro Tenorio decides he’s had enough of pointless crosscuts and tree branches. The result falls somewhere between Purgatory and Hell, where hapless critics force themselves to wander and smarter viewers leave before the opening.
To give credit where credit is due, “Night of the Wild Boar” is an efficient time waster. Not one to build tension, Tenorio sticks to a formula: burn through 30 seconds of plot per scene and end each with montages so predictable they become upsetting. How can a whole movie have so little variation, so little investment?
Here’s the answer: even “Night of the Wild Boar” is bored with itself. Tenorio doesn’t know how to write characters or narratives. He knows how to write a plot, something functional. And make no mistake, this movie functions, but that’s all it does. Case in point, it opens with an interview where the now dead writer Guillermo San Roman (Spyros Papadatos) answers questions about his life. Conveniently, his answers set up the central conflict, the main character’s motivation, and the setting. To zero fanfare, his girlfriend, Claudia (Catalina Zahri), pops on-screen, traveling by boat to his home. It turns out, Guillermo’s stories fictionalize real murders in his village. His neighbors suspect he’s involved because of this, and Claudia, now embroiled in the investigation, sets out to prove his innocence.
Calling the plot paper thin would be an insult to paper. It’s transparent. The characters aren’t characters, they’re chess pieces. The events are moves on the board, and when they get to where they need to go, nothing changes. Along the way, Tenorio makes a number of perplexing cinematic choices without committing to a single one.
Against all hope, “Night of the Wild Boar” plows forward. Plot, character, and cohesion be damned. It’ll get viewers to the finish line even if it kills them in the process. And trust me, if the unimaginably absurd final sequence doesn’t do it, then you have a stronger spirit than me. The big “reveal” is hackneyed to the extreme and plays like the most unimportant moment in the movie. From there, it just gets worse. It’s surprising, really: just when you think it’s as bad as can be, it ups the ante. For that, I salute Ramiro Tenorio. He didn’t just make a bad movie. He made the bad movie.