ROCK, PAPER, AND SCISSORS (PIEDRA, PAPEL, Y TIJERA, 2019)
Directed by Macarena García Lenzi, Martín Blousson.
Written by Macarena García Lenzi, Martín Blousson, Valentín Javier Diment.
Starring Agustina Cerviño, Valeria Giorcelli, Pablo Sigal
Maria (Valeria Giorcelli) and Jesus (Pablo Sigal) are reclusive siblings who recently lost their invalid father. They live a quiet life in the old mansion spending their days vegging out in front of the television and watching THE WIZARD OF OZ. When their other sibling Magdalena (Agustina Cerviño), who hasn’t been home in years, arrives from out of town to settle the family’s will, she finds out that the family is almost broke due to the father’s medical expenses. Magdalena suggests that the only sensible solution is to sell the house and split the money three ways, but she soon finds out that her siblings have become anything but sensible and soon finds herself trapped in the mansion after a not so accidental fall down the stairs. Drugged and laid up in bed, Magdalena fights for her sanity and her life against her very troubled siblings.
ROCK, PAPER AND SCISSORS is twisted little gem of a film that is wrong in all the right places. Be it Maria and Jesus’ obsession with THE WIZARD OF OZ, Jesus’s pet hamster, Maria’s child-like view of the world, or the fetus of another dead sibling they carry around in a mason jar, this is one messed up family. Just when you think something can’t get any weirder, it does. At the same time, the film goes out of its way to make it seem like these things are not weird at all. Maria and Jesus see nothing wrong with the way they live and it’s this dedication to the crazy that really makes you as the viewer trapped in this nightmare world along with Magdalena. All three actors do a fantastic job at playing their parts. While Maria and Jesus steal the show with their lunacy, Agustina Cervino does a wonderful job of attempting to maintain her composure and sanity amidst this madness.
The entire film is set within this large house and it still manages to look interesting every step of the way. The bizarre décor and layout of the home really does make you feel like you’ve been transplanted to another, less modern time. There are walls of small doors that are never opened but look like they hide all sorts of weird secrets. Directors Macarena García Lenzi and Martín Blousson, dress this setting with unique and interesting looking angles and scene compositions. They also incorporate some vivid and surreal segments of dream imagery full of symbolism that represents what’s going on in Magdalena’s fever dreams throughout the film. These segments break up the film and once again, make it feel unsteady and unreliable. All in all, this is a good looking film made by very talented folks.
If there’s a critique I have with ROCK, PAPER, AND SCISSORS, it’s that it isn’t made clear why Magdalena didn’t see this coming. I know they wanted everything to happen in the house, but given that the three grew up together, she should know that these two siblings are so messed up in the head. I understand she may have been gone a long time, but still, it didn’t seem like Magdalena was hesitant at all returning to the home and she actually acted surprised at the hell she falls into. It is just a plot hole that becomes more apparent the more the craziness is revealed that these two have been sick in the head for a very long time. Maybe Magdalena wasn’t aware of it because she was too deeply ingrained in the madness when she was there before or maybe she blocked it all out. Either way, it would have been nice had there been a segment explaining this detail to the audience.
That little detail aside, ROCK, PAPER, AND SCISSORS proves that you never really can go home again. Utilizing some elements you’ll find familiar if you’re a fan of MISERY, this is a vivid and entertaining flick. There are some points in the film that lag and become extraneously conversational, but there’s a lot of interesting ideas at play. ROCK, PAPER, AND SCISSORS delivers a bin full of looniness and makes it all look creepy and claustrophobic the whole time.