An engaging feature debut from Evgeny Yablokov in his thriller Carver has us watch a vigilante get too caught up in his nightly excursions and struggle to keep it all together. A film that satisfies and stays true to itself throughout.
Ernesto (Victor Rivas) is a security guard at a supermarket. He spends his days looking at customers on the security cameras. Then, at night, he changes out of his uniform and into his Carver suit and becomes the neighbourhood vigilante until Alicia (Mar Del Corral) gives him a real case: to hunt down the drug dealer who killed her brother.
An interesting look at how far one mans need to protect when there has been no apparent call for it takes over his existence. Something has gone wrong in Ernesto’s life that we are not privy to at the beginning of Carver. Yet, as the film moves forwards during its 82 minute running time, you sense how unhappy he is within his life. A man who wants to be in the police force but stuck in a dead-end security guard job. He is desperate to be more than what life has given him. He wants to make a real difference, to make not only himself but his family and neighbourhood proud of him, so he
There is a high sense of irony that this seemingly mild-mannered security guard, who let’s thieves off with just warnings, would take such a drastic turn when trying to confront others to remove the poison out of his neighbourhood. But, with the police ever becoming more concerned and aware of him, it is only a matter of time before both versions of himself collide into an absolute catastrophe.
Alicia’s slow manipulation of Ernesto and his manhood forces him to depths he didn’t think possible. Yet, like Ernesto, we can only see darkness in Alicia’s future as she too becomes soaked up in the lure of being a vigilante. She never expects him to succeed in any of his missions, and the feeling that she has simply been testing him raises to the surface and has us wondering how exactly Ernesto will react to this. A mild-mannered man who roams the Madrid neighbourhoods in a mask is not exactly the type of person you want to annoy, after all.
This immediately leads to a discussion with his wife, Sofia, where he admits to wanting to hang up the mask and night-time excursions. Seeing the hope begin to glisten in her eyes, she might finally get her husband back after goodness knows how long it is warming. Still, we know this will only be a fleeting feeling as Ernesto is too far addicted to the power he thinks he holds. He has seen how his son admires him for what he is doing, and there is no going back for him, so the crestfallen Sofia makes the only choice left to her about the man that she still loves.
Throughout Carver, director Evgeny Yablokov presents us with the critical moments of this period in Ernesto’s life and lets his audience connect the dots in this intriguing thriller. He never wastes the audience time with what is on screen and yet also never fully explains himself. So we are left to assume, and for a feature debut, it is quite the bold move to allow that much trust to form. Happily, he succeeds with it, and you become highly engaged. We know sure enough that this will most likely not turn out well for Ernesto or Alicia. However, we are captivated to see how much they will spiral and if someone somehow will grab them before it is too late.
Yablokov makes quite the bold decision in his finale that will certainly split audiences with their opinion. For what he has made in the previous minutes of his film, it makes sense and, in fact, keeps true to the tone of the overall piece. It would be understandable for frustrations to arise from it, given how the film builds it up so much. This is a character-driven drama thriller that has you begging for our subject to see sense. With great performances from the cast, especially from Victor Rivas and Mar Del Corral, we are left with a solid feature of a troubled man who just doesn’t know when to quit.
Carver is showing at the Queen’s World Film Festival until the 27th June, watch it here
For more information about the festival click here
For more of our coverage of the festival please check out our reviews below:
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