Country: Spain / France
Movie Review: “Magical Girl”, which opens and closes with a mesmeric moment of magic, doesn’t hesitate to astonish the viewers with a few refreshing plot details. The story centers on two strangers, Luis (Luis Bermejo) and Barbara (Barbara Lennie), whose lives converge at some point. Luis is an unemployed former teacher who wants to pamper his 12-year-old daughter, Alicia, a devoted enthusiast of anime series and Japanese pop songs, with the gift she ever dreamt – a unique dress that costs 7000 Euros. The reason for this is that Alicia is dying from leukemia. Since the books he often sells by weight are insufficient to collect the total amount, he sees a golden opportunity to get it by blackmailing a mentally troubled woman called Barbara, with whom he slept right after meeting her in undesirable circumstances. Barbara hides a mysterious past that involves an obsessed professor from her youth, and lives comfortably with her well-established psychiatrist husband. Nevertheless, and since she can’t get an excuse to ask him such a great amount, she resorts to her former employer, Ada, who runs a prostitution business. Barbara is then introduced to a sinister man in a wheelchair who arranges bizarre sexual encounters. She ends up paying Luis, but the game was far from reaching an end. Filmmaker Carlos Vermut embraces drama and thriller with the same spontaneous conviction, in this meticulous tale of revenge(s) that mesmerizes us from the first minute. Even if we have a slight impression that some of the visuals and mood had been borrowed from other movies, we can’t help being dragged by the clever plot, clean appearance, and a disconcertingly intriguing structure. Quietly disturbing, this penetrating neo-noir thriller relies more in a cruel insanity than any kind of magic.