Black Snow

Director: Martin Hodara | Year: 2017 | Origin: Argentina, Spain | Original title: Nieve blanca

Black Snow

Marcos, played by Leonardo Sbaraglia (Intacto) returns to his Patagonian hometown with his pregnant Spanish wife (Victoria’s Laia Costa as Laura) to handle the funeral proceedings of his father. The death of the patriarch also invigorated the aggressive bid of a Canadian mining company who has an eye for the land on which Marcos’s hermit brother (Salvador, played magnificently by Ricardo Darin) has been living for the best part of the last 3 decades.

Marcos reluctantly accepts to reach out to Salvador, but the long-gestating aftermath of a fateful hunting trip which resulted in the accidental death of their younger brother haunts his every move—literally and figuratively.

Black Snow is a slow film that gets under the skin fairly quickly. What transpired on that day 30 years ago is slowly and methodically revealed to the viewer, without drawing too much attention to what’s going on in the present. The ‘thriller’ aspect of it is handled very subtly and that is a good thing.

The focus shifts from Marcos, to Salvador, and then to Laura seamlessly and the often quiet Laura comfortably takes centre stage. We are reminded more than once that she is pregnant, though that plays little-to-no-part in the ongoing drama, but Laura proves to be a character that will take reigns easily without being called upon.

The star of the show is, though, Darin’s Salvador. His face is weather-worn after living all this time in social, physical and mental isolation and his is a face that has forgotten how to smile. His face uncannily resembles that of his father, who he bears very little warmth for. Considering his fate, it’s hard to fault him for it.

Black Snow is not the most free-flowing thriller that it sets out to be—but it embodies the freezing cold and harsh surroundings perfectly well in a very tight plot. Shame that Sabrina, Marcos and Salvador’s sister who is in a mental institution, is not given much to play with, except for a serendipituous ripple effect she set in motion from that day 30 years ago. Other than that, it’s hard to find many faults with it.

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