Detective Marañón

By bogotapost November 21, 2015
Bogota Cinema

Salomón Simhon at the opening of his film in Bogotá.

3.5/5 stars

Eyes. Detective Marañón, a Bogotá film, opens with a striking close up of our hero’s eyes. Marañón is somewhat of a maverick, a lone wolf, and his eyes represent this better than anything. Throughout the film we return again and again to close-ups of various characters’ eyes. It forces a great deal of work from the actors, but all rise to the challenge, especially charismatic lead Manuel Sarmiento. It’s a detective trope that’s been done to death, but the twist is that it’s set in Bogotá.

The film itself is very Bogotano, but in no way sympathetic. Instead, the city is portrayed exactly as we know it, grey and rainy. If the film is cynical in its view of politricksters and the media, the backdrop is equally foreboding and dark. The locations, too, are not those you might expect – dangerous back alleys in nondescript neighbourhoods and dodgy nightclubs in Chapinero.

Taking aim at dishonest politicians, we follow the hero through twists and turns as he pursues a bunch of blackmailers. It’s modern and contemporary with chat messages popping up on screen and a whole range of gadgetry and spyware, while maintaining traditional roles for the protagonists.

The only real problem with the film is that it feels more like an episode of a series than a standalone story. A lot is crammed into a short time with the result that nothing is fully covered. There’s a short and very obvious romance subplot and Marañón himself has so many idiosyncrasies that we never really understand him fully.

At the end we have somewhat of a mobius strip, ending with a new beginning. This serves to give a somewhat cynical view of this being simply life as normal. Without giving too much away, it centres around a dishonest politician (tautology?) and a blackmail scheme.

Detective Marañón will be released in cinemas across Colombia on November 27.

By Oli Pritchard