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.