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Tony Manero Review

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Raul Peralta, middle aged man in Pinochet's Chile, feeds in his obsession with John Travolta's character in Saturday Night Fever as those around him suffer under the oppressive regime.

★★★★★

In some respects, Tony Manero is a bitterly dark comedy. In others, it’s a harrowing depiction of life under Pinochet in late-’70s Chile. Director Pablo Larrain posits a society in which the only allowable freedom of expression can be something as absurd as a fiftysomething nobody (Alfredo Castro) dressing up as Saturday Night Fever’s lead character and throwing stiff disco moves on frosted glass blocks standing in for a dancefloor. But also battering elderly ladies to death so he can feed his obsession.

It’s intriguing and challenging, although Castro’s Raúl never quite comes to full-blooded life, remaining a brittle vessel for the points Larrain seeks to score.

Saturday Night Fever meets South American Psycho, but also harrowing and funny.

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