Sometimes a film is slow, with characters doing not much and featuring lengthy shots of little import, but it works. Other times, as with 'Jesús', it does not. The titular character is a member of a teenage gang in the Chilean capital Santiago. The lads pass their time practicing their 'K-pop' moves, watching execution videos, drinking and having casual sex. Just as the viewer is losing the will to live (I kept myself alert by mentally compiling my shopping list), things spark - but only a little - when the gang viciously assault a drunk they find in a local park. With the man hospitalised in a coma and the police closing in, the gang turn on each other, with Jesús himself torn between betraying his erstwhile friends or evading justice himself. My word, does this film drag. Those lengthy shots of people driving, or walking down a street, or eating; the conversations with only one participant in camera (and often in extreme close-up); the 'workshopped' feel to much of the activity... I do not think I have ever been so bored by a film! The actors do their best - Alejandro Goic, as Jesús' often-absent father faced with parental responsibility of the most difficult kind, is noteworthy - and I suppose as a portrayal of aimless, hopeless South American youth the film certainly gets its message across, but there is an overpowering feeling of dullness about it all. Although the sex scenes are daringly explicit, even they have a feel of being chucked in just to keep the viewer from nodding off. Not one for a repeat viewing!
When the flesh of your flesh is rotten, will you go to any extend to protect your own? Or will you cut them lose? Jesus is a story of the ultimate betrayal.
August 12, 2020