Writer / Director: Ivan Wild
Stars: Jaime Barbini, Beatriz Carmago, Jorge Perugorria, Adel David Vasquez, and Katherine Velez
Edificio Royal is a dark comedy about a day in the life of residents in an apartment building in Bogotá, Columbia.
A husband answers the phone in his apartment. After a one-sided conversation with the person on the other end he leaves the apartment with his wife complaining why he has to go to work on his day off. Later, upon his return to the Edificio Royal he yells for Gabriel (Adel David Vasquez), the building custodian. Gabriel meets the husband at the front of the building by the husband’s hearse. Together they pull out an occupied coffin–with viewing window–out of the hearse, carry it into the building, on the elevator, down the hall, and then into the husband’s apartment. We quickly realize this is not your average apartment building.
As the film progresses we are introduced to different occupants of the building throughout the same time of day. In other words, the woman who Gabriel and the husband pass while in the hallway has her story told later in the film, but at a certain point of the film showing us her day we watch her in the hallway passing Gabriel and the husband. This technique is used repeatedly from one character story to another. The central link is Gabriel.
The acting across the board is good to excellent. Adel Vasquez is very convincing as the put-upon Gabriel. Katherine Velez is perfect as the totally self-absorbed and yet completely un-self aware building owner Margarita.
The look and feel of the film is shot in shades of blue and grays, with a gritty realism.
Unfortunately the story is not able to hold your attention. In the end you are left wondering what the point of the whole film was. Though the film has morbidly humorous points, the pace never increases beyond a crawl. There will be more than one occasion when you check your watch to see how much time has passed. The net effect is the movie feels as it was intended to be a straight drama that just so happened to have some unintentionally funny moments.
Grade = C-