(1996, Mexico, Spain, France, 136')
Maybe Ripstein’s masterpiece, the film is a chronicle of two psychopaths assassins inspired by real events, which once also inspired Leonard Kastle’s The Honeymoon Killers. Usually Ripstein works with closed-off, smothering spaces, like he did in the beautiful The Castle of Purity. In Deep Crimson, his eye opens up to the indifferent, merciless vastness of the desert. There’s no shortage of overloaded interiors, either, enlarged and deformed via the filmmaker’s peculiar use of mirrors. Tragicomedy, comedic tragedy, brutal mix of melodrama and noir humour, the film is the story of the love folly of two physical and moral monsters. Behind them, the shadow of Goya. And yet, there is something in Coral’s and Nicolas’ homicidal love that is excruciating. They are losers, in the classical sense. They are dangerous survivors. Their mutual subjugation is tinted with that extremeness that we associate with the highest form of melodrama, and they’re somewhat ennobling – not that there is anything to ennoble, here. It is a kind of love we recognize our love in, and this recognition brings us closer to them than we’d like.
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