The war-torn Balkans, in 1995, provide the setting for A Perfect Day, Fernando León de Aranoa’s workplace tragicomedy about a group of foreign aid workers trying to excavate a corpse poisoning a well’s water. With a bit of sentimentality the film shows the sisyphean efforts of its principals without reducing them to caricatures. If Benicio Del Toro’s character is weary, Tim Robbins’s is cynical as he flirts and messes with an idealist played by Melanié Thierry. Olga Kurylenko plays baggage from the past, a three out of three on the hotness scale, according to one character. Despite the intimate nature of the drama, the movie takes us by surprise with sweeping vista shots by DP Álex Catalán. There are also well-placed aerials of bombed-out villages and snaking mountain roads, some of which are boobytrapped with landmines. In lieu of an overwrought score, A Perfect Day uses silences and a soundtrack featuring X, Marilyn Manson, and Lou Reed to complement its tone.
In English & Serbian & Spanish & French
By Alec Julian & Carrie White