Directed by: Alex de la Iglesia
Producers: Andrés Vicente Gomez, Ximo Perez
Starring: José Mota, Salma Hayek, Blanca Portillo, Juan Luis Galiardo, Fernando Tejero
Tribeca Film Festival
Running time: 93 minutes
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Alex de la Iglesia’s As Luck Would Have It follows Roberto (José Mota), a struggling former ad executive, as his day goes from bad to much worse. Or it would seem to everyone else but Roberto. Having failed at a job interview where he literally begged for a position from an old friend, a despondent Roberto feels nostalgic for the hotel where he and his wife (Salma Hayek) honeymooned and decides it’s time for a visit. Unfortunately the hotel is gone in lieu of a restricted excavation site and Roberto soon has a freak accident that traps him in an ancient coliseum. Savvy businessman that he is, Roberto recruits an agent to his cause in order to milk the most media money out of his predicament.
As far as the satire goes, it’s a little bit two dimensional. The agent Roberto hires, Johnny (Fernando Tejero), is perfectly weaselly and the people he deals with are also stereotypical money grubbing slimeballs who would profit from Roberto’s demise. The point that the media is predatory and disposable is reached quickly and not really expanded upon. Having Roberto trapped in the center of a coliseum too for this media frenzy does seem a bit too on the nose, but it’s undeniably a beautiful set to look at. If two thirds of the film must take place in the same setting, they could do worse.
Really then the strength of the film lies in the central performances of Roberto and his family. Mota infuses Roberto with a kind of infectious optimism regarding his financial prospects despite his terrible position and is especially impressive given the restrictions on his physical performance after his accident. Salma Hayek is wonderful as Roberto’s more grounded wife Luisa who understandably is more concerned with getting her husband back than making a profit. When Roberto slips into unsympathetic territory, it’s their relationship, and the performances of Eduardo Casanova and Nerea Camacho as their children, that keeps us invested in his fate. De la Iglesia’s well drawn protagonists are bound to keep audiences rooting for Roberto.
Upcoming TFF Screenings of As Luck Would Have It:
Tue. 4/24 – 6:30pm, SVA Theater 1 Silas
Wed. 4/25 – 3:00pm, AMC Loews Village 7-1
Thu. 4/26 – 8:30pm, AMC Loews Village 7-3
Fri. 4/27 – 3:45pm, Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 8