May 29, 2023

Martínez is a dark comedy written and directed by Lorena Padilla. It stars Chilean actor Francisco Reyes—protagonist of the acclaimed Academy Award-winning film A Fantastic Woman—in the title role of Martínez.

Martínez is a lonely and grumpy old man, with a strict routine of work, daily laps at the pool, and nightly reading. Interactions with other people are kept to a minimum, with social activities seen as a waste of time. Everything comes to a sudden halt in his life when Martínez is reminded that he has to soon retire and he’s forced to train his replacement at work, tech-savvy and upbeat, Pablo (Humberto Busto.)

Simultaneously, Martínez’s unseen neighbor, Amalia, a woman around the same age as him, has been dead for days. In her apartment, the landlord discovers a gift for Martínez. This leads Martínez into an investigation into her life, going through knickknacks, photographs, and letters.

Martínez’s investigation leads him on a path of self-discovery, which is fueled by Amalia’s to-do list which includes visiting the planetarium and an amusement park. He even starts talking about Amalia at work, leading Pablo and Martínez’s boss, Conchita (Martha Claudia Moreno) to suspect that Martínez has a girlfriend.

Martínez is a beautifully shot film, with a stellar cast. Although it mainly focuses on Martínez, Pablo and Conchita felt like fully realized characters, all struggling with similar issues. Some of my favorite moments in the film are when all three of these characters were interacting. Likewise, you really feel for Martínez, despite some of his questionable and disappointing decisions.

The film’s mix of subtle comedy and drama presented a story about truly living life in a captivating way. The direction and cinematography in the film likewise lent itself to Martínez’s story, with it starting off in odd angles and small spaces, until it ultimately becomes open and colorful. Also, it isn’t often that we see older actors at the center of a film, and that is something I appreciate about Martínez. Overall, the film is a poignant reminder to live life to the fullest.

We give Martínez a 4/5 for its stellar cast, beautiful cinematography, and touching story.

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