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All bets are on. 

Year: 2001 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Intacto believes that luck is a commodity that can be given and received, won or lost, or sold.  Most people have ordinary luck, some have very good or bad luck, and then there is a person like Tomas (Sbaraglia), who is the only survivor of an aeroplane crash, beating the odds of 237 million to 1.

The film involves a man named Sam (von Sydow), who survived the Holocaust and now runs a casino at which wealthy patrons bet against his luck, usually losing. So confident is he in his luck that he will remove one bullet from a chamber holding six and then bet that he will not die. His being alive speaks for itself (think Fight Club meets Unbreakable).

Sam believes that he will lose his luck if the wrong person looks him in the face at the wrong time, or takes his photo. To protect himself, he often sits in a closed room with a hood over his face. He has a young man named Federico (Poncela) as his accomplice; who also has good luck, and searches for others who have his gift. When Sam steals his luck, Federico spends seven years looking for someone to cultivate as an instrument of revenge. Some of his candidates are luckless, as their gruesome deaths attest. His saviour literally falls out of the sky: Tomas, a bankrobbing fugitive who is the sole survivor of the aforementioned plane crash.

Intacto is ingenious in its construction and keeps a certain distance between its story and popular entertainment. It’s a Hollywood idea, shot in the world of the art film. The same concept could be remade into straightforward entertainment movie, and maybe it already has been.

In fact the film has apparently been snapped up for a stateside reinterpretation.  Don’t wait for the cover version; this one offers transportation to a weird other world that will be almost impossible to duplicate.

When you see a film like this, you may learn something you wouldn’t have learned in an entertainment movie. Intacto may be adding the layer of style just for fun, but somewhere within that style there’s a thriller waiting to get out.

Percival Tucker

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)