Starring: Jose Coronado, Hugo Silva, Belén Rueda
Director: Oriol Paulo
Running Time: 108 mins
The Body (El cuerpo) is a Spanish film about a man who is brought in for questioning by an intense police detective after the body of his late wife goes missing from the morgue.
From start to finish, I was absolutely hooked with by The Body, a brilliantly slick and intriguing mystery that’s full of drama and surprises that leave you totally unable to see what’s coming next. With powerfully atmospheric directing from Oriol Paulo, along with a collection of strong performances, it’s a really exciting watch throughout, and even though its story may not always be laid out in the most perfectly coherent manner, you’ll surely not be able to take your eyes off the screen.
If you’ve seen either Paulo’s latest work, The Invisible Guest, or the likes of Gone Girl, then you’ll have an idea of what you’re in for with The Body. At its core, the story is a simple mystery thriller, but what’s so striking about it is how the director gives it that extra spark of drama and intrigue, by creating a powerfully eerie atmosphere that at times makes the film feel more like a horror-thriller than your bog standard detective piece.
As a result, there’s an incredible energy and tension infused in the film right the way through, creating immense unpredictability as our lead suspect takes us through his past with the dead woman who has disappeared, and the detective crafts a vivid hypothesis as to how the crime took place.
What’s more is that, thanks to the lead performances, particularly by Jose Coronado as the investigator and Hugo Silva as the suspect, the dramatic tension bubbles strongly right the way through the story. Rather than a simple questioning process, we see Coronado’s character aggressively going act the suspect to interrogate him, while Silva begins acting more and more nervously and suspiciously throughout, meaning their personal relationship creates an extra level of dramatic intrigue on top of solving the mystery at hand.
All of that is absolutely fascinating and exciting to watch unfold, and when coupled with the numerous twists and turns we’re taken through as more and more information about what could have possibly happened – whether the body was stolen, or whether the woman herself woke up and moved away as an insane joke – it all makes for a massively entertaining watch that you’ll be fully invested in right the way through.
Despite all of that, however, there is one small issue that I do find with The Body. While it is a fiercely intriguing thriller with a powerful atmosphere, its story isn’t one to involve you, the viewer, to unlock the puzzle quite as much as the best of the genre. You’re presented with the facts and the mysteries at hand, something that makes watching the people on screen try to figure out absolutely riveting, but rather than giving you the opportunity to try and unpuzzle some things too, the story is more keen to guide you through the various theories and conclusions, which I found a little frustrating at times.
What’s more is that, as the film draws to a close and a resolution seems more likely, the twists that do come about towards the end of the movie make it feel a little bit end-heavy, as if a lot of the drama you’ve watched unfold before was a little irrelevant. It’s still an entertaining watch, and the finale is absolutely brilliant, but it’s unfortunately not quite assembled into the most perfect package possible.
Overall, though, I had a great time with The Body. Above all, it’s a slick, intriguing, unpredictable and strongly atmospheric thriller that keeps you hooked right the way through with great directing, acting and screenwriting. It may not always be the world’s most satisfying mystery, but on the whole, it’s a film that’s an absolute thrill to watch throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.