Morbido 2019 Review: RENDEZ-VOUS, A Strong Single-Take Thriller From Mexico
Lili is excited and nervous about her date with Eduardo. She me him on an online dating service app. The night starts a little rocky at first, Eduardo is half an hour late and not answering his phone. He finally arrives and the date goes on. Eduardo is charming, attractive and attentive. The evening is going so well Lili agrees to go back to Eduardo’s home for dinner. Even the best dates can turn sour and Eduardo’s true intentions come to light.
With Rendez-vous, writer-director Pablo Olmos Arrayales is in no rush to reveal everyone’s true intentions. The first half plays out like a film from the Linklater Before trilogy. Lili and Eduardo start in an art gallery then walk the streets of Coyoacan to Eduardo’s place. They chit chat and further break the ice, they get to know each other, they give us the audience time to get to know them as well. Helena Puig and Antonio Alcantara have great chemistry together. The time spent walking with them draws us to this couple, give us time to be sucked in to this budding relationship before the proverbial carpet is pulled out from underneath us.
The back half of this 86-minute single-take thriller has more than its share of mystery and surprises all the way to the end. Lili wonders why Eduardo won’t drink his first glass of wine even though he expounds on the virtues of wine and how to thoroughly enjoy it. She notices that his personal library has a lot of crime novels in it. Thanks to the omniscient narrative we begin to see what Eduardo’s plans are for the rest of the evening. But what is it they say, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’?
You should not go too far into trying to crack the puzzle of the back half of Rendez-vous because this is where the fun really happens. It will keep you guessing. It will often surprise you. Rendez-vous is the type of thriller that just wants you to enjoy the ride. Arrayales will throw a number of curve balls at you in the back half. Don’t try to reach out and hit them. Just enjoy how well he and his team do in this single-take thriller.
DP Luis Enrique Carrion does an excellent job of capturing all the action and story as the story ascends into thrilling territory. He moves expertly from the wide open spaces of the small town into the confines of Eduardo’s home. He had shot a 360 short film with Alexander Aja and Robert Englund before and with a well thought out plan before shooting you will have a hard time figuring out where all the supporting crew are hiding ‘on set’.
What is astounding is that Arrayales and company shot Rendez-vous just once. That is it. What you see on screen is the only take they shot. Limitations and restrictions of a shoestring budget meant they only had one shot at it. This is what good planning and plenty of rehearsal time will get you, a team that is prepared to knock it out of the park the first and only time.
Rendez-vous is an impressive feature length debut from director-writer Pablo Olmos Arrayales and will rank up there with the best of the single-take thrillers.