Aram is a good worker and team player. Despite working significant overtime and solving all of the major problems in the office he does not receive a promotion, raise, or extra pay for the overtime. He is fiercely loyal to his boss although both know that he is the key to the success of the office and his wife is giving him grief at home for not standing up for himself at work. His only true pleasure is a CD of All Time Piano's Greatest Hits that he plays in his car and the office when he works late. Even his boss likes the CD pledging to pick up a copy for himself.
But Aram has a dark side as well. He spends many an afternoon as a regular client of a call girl. He also hatched a private project methodically making a list of needed items followed by detailed scouting for timing and execution. Aram then kidnaps a high school girl, holding her hostage in an abandoned building. He administers electric shocks plus several forms of psychological torture on his victim before suddenly releasing her.
Writer/director Adrian Garcia Bogliano based the story on an idea he had contemplated for a while on the male psyche and societal standards of measuring success. He also wanted to touch on the fact that hard work alone will not get you ahead. One needs to play politics, have someone champion your position or abuse someone to move towards the next level. The fantasy plays out through an extreme lens featuring a quick rise to success followed by an even a greater fall due to the protagonists own bad actions.
Francisco Barriero carries the film in the role of Aram. He plays meek and agreeable with his boss and wife. As opposed to a planner, plotter, ruthless and cruel monster in his exchanges with the victim. Then he balances attentive and carnal with his extra marital female dalliances. Daniela Soto Vell is very convincing as Anabella. She starts out as a confident high school student with the school principal amongst her admires. Next projects a timid schoolgirl when kidnapped and restrained but soon adapts to a strong vicious women bent on revenge for her extended suffering.
Scherzo Diabolico is a darkly written fantasy sporting a very strong narrative. The lead and supporting characters all yield strong performances that give weight to the story. Director Adrian Garcia Bogliano continues his run of strong storytelling in a genre that is rarely supported in Central and South America. It's a film that I highly recommend.
***1/2 Out of 4.
Scherzo Diabolico | Adrian Garcia Bogliano | Mexico / U.S.A. | 2015 | 91 Minutes.
Tags; Office Politics, Kidnapping, Psychological Torture, Taser, Mexico City, School Uniform, Classical Music, Mozart, Rats.