Monday 20 November 2023

Mubi Monday: The History Of The Pink Trunk (2005)

Although there’s a mystery at the heart of this, and it isn’t just the mystery of how it actually got made, The History Of The Pink Trunk ends up not being about that central mystery. Not really. I mean . . . it IS, but it equally isn’t. I don’t want to namecheck anyone that would lead to unfair comparisons, but this will start to feel familiar to those who have enjoyed other murder mysteries in which the focus has often wandered to peripheral characters and their developing relationships while caught in the spiderweb of mystery.

Edgardo Román plays Detective Corzo, a man tasked with figuring out what happened when the body of a young girl is found in a pink trunk. He finds his work hampered by a busy journalist, Hipólita Mosquera (Diego Vélez), but also starts to enjoy the company of the lovely Martina (Dolores Heredia).

I am not familiar with the filmography of director Libia Stella Gómez, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Federico Durán, and I am not entirely sure if I want to see more from them after checking this out. Hampered by a low budget and an inconsistent cast, Gómez still tries hard to fill the movie with neo-noir style and tropes, playing around with the latter on the way to the final scenes, but cannot quite deliver what the material really needs.

Román is okay in his role, but he is the least interesting of the central trio. While Vélez plays someone a lot less likeable, he is eminently watchable, cocky and brazen enough to assume he can write articles that will at least keep the police on their toes. Heredia is the highlight though, a female character who does what she can to keep those around her thinking of their responsibility and the power afforded to them. Heredia gets to be sweet and strong, and the film works best when you get to see her character have a positive effect on the men in her orbit.

I struggled to get into this, with the first third of the movie feeling like a real chore, but then I started to settle into it. I started to realise how the main characters were being positioned and where more friction was starting to develop, and I stopped being so bothered about whether or not the central mystery would be solved. I don’t think I will ever revisit it, and I wouldn’t rush to recommend it to others, but I did enjoy the second half a lot more than the opening. 

World cinema fans will appreciate this more than most, but it’s not a film that should ever be prioritised against the many others that are probably always jostling around the top half of any “to watch” list.


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