Intriguing and stylish, the Spanish film Intacto posits a world where luck is a commodity to be found, nurtured and occasionally revoked. That luck could be something to be mined and then guarded from others is a cunningly simple kernel for a film, and director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo does wonders with it.
That said, Intacto, with its multilayered plot and peculiarly European sense of high style (everything here looks as though it were ripped from the pages of the July 2008 issue of French Vogue), may be a hard sell stateside. The ideas at its core are densely packed and take a while to chew through. They're that much more rewarding, though.
Max Von Sydow plays Samuel Berg, who oversees the luck trade at a remote Spanish casino in what looks to be the middle of nowhere (you can sense Oblivion hanging around just offscreen). When his right-hand man Federico (Eusebio Poncela) runs afoul of the boss, he's stripped of his luck ' literally ' and cast out of the casino into the real world, where he eventually hooks up with handsome bank robber TomÃs (Leonardo Sbaraglia), the sole survivor of a plane crash and a drifter with more innate luck than anyone Federico has ever encountered. Together they embark on a series of "luck contests" with other gifted individuals, chief among them the scheming ex-bullfighter Alejandro (Antonio Dechent), while being pursued by the equally lucky yet hideously scarred cop Sara (MÃnica LÃpez), who's sniffing around TomÃs' former career as a thief.
Yes, it's a bit bewildering, especially when you take into consideration the many machinations ' emotional and otherwise ' going on at any given moment. But Intacto has a glittery, sun-drenched charm, looking like a million bucks even as its characters wallow in despair. And the script is a thing of dark beauty, chancy but rarely haphazard.