December 28, 2006 -- This movie is about a seemingly innocuous young man named Elvis Valderez (Gael García Bernal of “Bad Education”), who comes to visit his estranged father, have sex with his half-sister, Malerie Sandow (Pell James of “Broken Flowers”), commune with nature and kill just about everyone he comes into contact with. At first he seems just fine and dandy, if a bit weird, but he just can't seem to stop killing people. Even after he kills people, the expression on his face doesn't change, kind of like that creepy little character Elijah Wood played in Sin City.
It has something to do with the fact that Elvis is the bastard son of a successful minister, Pastor David Sandow (William Hurt of “A History of Violence”). Sandow's early refusal to acknowledge his own son results in a destructive rage that seldom shows on Elvis' face, but comes through loud and clear in his actions. Elvis' face seems strangely vacant most of the time. Hiding the volcano of emotions inside. Some would call this acting style understated or minimalist. I'd say it is more like non-existent.
Why Elvis decides to visit his estranged family at this moment, so many years after his father left his mother on her own is not explained. Something clearly set him off. There is a vague reference to Elvis' mother's death, but Elvis' collision with this estranged family is a disaster. It has something to do with the envy Elvis feels for the kind of family life he never had. It all has something to do with religion, I'm sure, because there is a lot of religion in this movie, including a speech about intelligent design, of all things. David Sandow is the real deal. At first, he tries to get rid of Elvis, but he realizes his mistake and accepts him into his life, much to the chagrin of Sandow's wife, Twyla Sandow (Laura Harring of “The Punisher”). Allowing him in the Sandow house also gives him easy access to Sandow's daughter, Malerie, so they can do the hunka chunka. Sandow's Christian beliefs play right into Elvis' evil plans.
Perhaps the message of this film is to beware of who you forgive. Perhaps the message of the film is to be very careful who you have sex with. Maybe the message is to judge people lest you be killed by them. Maybe the message is there are some sins that cannot be forgiven. One could interpret the movie as a dire warning against fornication or miscegenation, which in this case results in murder. This movie could be used as a rallying symbol for those people who are in a big frenzy about stopping illegal immigration. The film is rife with unintended messages. One thing's for sure, Elvis is one scary, creepy dude. Another thing is for sure. He is no king. This movie creeped me out big time. This film rates a C+.
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