Museo – TIFF 2018 Review

For Juan, the sweet kiss of revenge is all he wants. The thrill of robbing an institute which haunts his past, affects his basic motor functions, with his profound hatred of Mexico’s anthropology museum. It controls and overwhelms his actions. Juan doesn’t realize the consequence. Growing up in a relatively economically sound family, the idea of privilege and grief never hit him. For Juan, he wants to pave his own story in history, by robbing history itself.


In Alonso Ruizpalacios Museo, the idea of revenge and coping mechanisms is perfectly used as a backbone, to compliment and create an empathetic look at one of Mexico’s most scandalous robberies. It’s an anti-hero tale of sorts. A normal joe, hustling through his duties, waiting for the correct moment to launch his pre-set criminal endeavors.

Brilliantly portrayed by one of the best actors working today Gael Garcia Bernal, he not only adds depth and characterization to Juan’s inner motives, but as well understands the characters deep emotionally grounded conflicts in order to progress and develop his character. Juan, unlike many suave privileged criminals which we see quite frequently in film and television, feels authentic. Gael’s portrayal is honest and downright lifelike at times.


Ruizpalacios directing is also quite the treat. There’s a specific scene, during a robbery sequence, where tableau’s are used to present the narrative visually, Quick cuts and bright lighting cues are used to create an effect of stillness, a non-linear interpretation of how this scene played out, from the perspective of Juan. Genius and simple approaches like said scene is what innovates the film medium. Experimenting and adding something new to a film should always be welcomed. Although the film loses momentum during its second and third act, Ruizpalacios directing is something to behold when looking back at the start of the film. It’s pure raw directing that manages to capture the sheer live intensity of the moment.  


Museo is a show stealer. It not only manages to add a complex narrative backdrops within it’s relatively lengthy run time that w o r k s, but also creates an stark and surrealist approach at a very real event. It’s a feat in film making, and while to reiterate that the film does loose steam as it progresses, there’s still plenty to observe and taste when watching this film from a critical point of view. Let’s cross our fingers that Ruizpalacios manages to get another directing opportunity, cause Museo, is without a doubt, one of 2018’s most prolific pieces of cinema.


Museo will eventually hit Youtube Red in 2018/2019. DATES TBA


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