Cine Las Americas 2018 Review: EL VIGILANTE (THE NIGHT GUARD)

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

This year, it seems like the programmers at CLAIFF 21 had a taste for the bizarre and I just happened to choose a handful of them too.  This film from Mexico is a dark, sometimes disturbing, but also bewildering movie that is highly watchable and gripping at times, but also seems a bit aimless.  Nevertheless, I enjoyed this strange nocturnal journey for a couple of security guards who experience one hell of shift.

Leonardo Alonzo stars as Salvador, a night watchman who, in addition to his co-worker Hugo (Ari Gallegos), gets questioned by police after a dead body is discovered on the property they are guarding.  Though Salvador knows nothing about the events leading up to the death of the victim discovered, he does his best to co-operate with the authorities.  He also hopes to get through this strange ordeal, as he must get back to his family soon.  As the night continues to get stranger and more bizarre.  Salvador begins to wonder if he will ever see his beloved wife again.

Written and directed by Diego Ros, El Vigilante is for the most part a gripping and riveting film, but one that does have its slow dragging moments.  I am sure certain things are intended as a slow burn, but the film occasionally does take too long to get cooking.  When things do get going, the movie becomes a tense and highly watchable crime story.  The movie does feature some great performances by Leonardo Alonzo, Ari Gallegos, Rodrigo Franco, Noé Hernández, and more.  Although, I wasn’t completely bowled over by the film, I still feel it is a worthy effort by Mexican filmmaker Diego Ros.

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