Bringing Him Back ***
Starring: Bruna Cusí, Ricardo Gómez, Eneko Sagardoy, Joe Manjón
Director: Borja de la Vega
After the death of their mother, siblings Mía (Cusí) and Moi (Gómez) go to stay in the old family home in the rural Spanish countryside. The latter’s boyfriend (Sagardoy) is with them, trying to help Moi battle with his mental health but only succeeding in exposing the damage caused by his continuing depression. When Mía’s estranged manipulative boyfriend arrives having been involved in a traffic accident, his arrival sets the family reeling whose mission to use the farm as a tranquil escape is undermined by his unsettling presence.
The relationship between Mía and Moi sits at the film’s heart, with their respective partners playing second fiddle to their loyalty to each other. Mía is obliquely in denial about how dangerous her boyfriend is, while Moi is self-sabotaging his own relationship because of his relentless introspection. While their devotion to each other is unconditional, this is the only thing that’s healthy about this quartet’s dynamic, where good-intentions will eventually give way to malicious frenzy.
This has the trappings of a slow-building thriller, but due to being presented as a slow-paced character piece, it doesn’t really do itself justice. Moi is blank-faced and numb, rendering him a somewhat unsympathetic protagonist and making it difficult to forgive him for his later actions, even though it’s clear that’s what the director wants from us. As the film descends into violence and the bond between siblings grows even tighter, you can’t help but feel sorry for the outsiders who dared to try and love them.
With only four characters and one location, it wouldn’t have taken an auteur to lace the editing with claustrophobia, or at least some demonstration of how Moi is feeling. The farm is just that little bit too idyllic and Moi’s boyfriend just a touch too perfect to make us feel sorry for him. You can’t help but wish that everything had been taken just that little bit further – more dysfunction; more conflict; more plot. As it stands, it all just feels a little too light, too inoffensive and a strikingly bland shade of beige.
UK Release: Out now to watch on VOD on Dekkoo, released by TLA Releasing