The Magic Gloves (2003) – A Surrealist Dark Comedy

“The Magic Gloves” is an absurd movie. Yet, I don’t know how to explain it. Although I still don’t understand what the title means, the way it means was static. This is a movie about depression and drugs. Ironically, it played comically, to begin with. Martin Rejtman, an absurd Argentine director, wrote and directed this movie. The movie tells about these characters stalled most deeply in their lives. They reflect how they react with each other. I don’t know if this is a statement, sentence, or whatever. But, to summary this, I can say, ridiculously, that this is Martin Scorsese’sTaxi Driver” but comedy. More like dark comedy to say at least.

A 35-year-old cab driver, Alejandro (Vicentico), is a man with nothing in his life. He is just a guy who lives nothing in his room and nothing in his around. Except for the boredom in his cab makes him more lonely. His friends, by his side who were most aware that he was also alone, has the same fate as him. He met unique people thanks to his work as a cab driver. He meets a “musician” who tries hard playing his music CD to convince his friend or guest at least. The musician would play this rock song. So, Alejandro could hear a strange sound in his cab thanks to the music.

Alejandro also met other “unique” people. There is a guy who genuinely and passionately loves his career. Shocked again, he works as an actor who often plays in many pornographic films. Even more, there is a sequence where the entire family, including the protagonist and the actor, watched the film together. Even though this is an unnecessary question, is that common in Argentina? I mean, it’s funny, for sure, awkward as well, and so surreal to begin with. I don’t know for sure.

“The Magic Gloves” honestly is about how the easygoing protagonist grows up in his home. He tries to separate his growing and feeling to all of his friends and family. But, the movie played weirds without any purpose. Just imagine how the slice of life movie or anime doesn’t have any conflict. However, try to imagine how surreal and strange the situation in the film too. There is no path to the protagonist. Without any imports and sideways, the movie slips the theme with surrealism into one of the weird experiences. To say this is a psychedelic movie also, it’s hard for us. Rejtman didn’t trigger or convince what will happen in the next scene.

Comedy is subjective, a cliche and overrated statement. It’s like when you are in a situation where you watch a comedy movie. But, your friends didn’t get it at all. Besides comedy is a thing, I love dark comedy. Dark comedy is hard for many people. Such themes and even sensitive themes can cause a shift in context between the director and the audience. “The Magic Gloves” plays in a sentimental cinema with so much deadpan face.

The actor indeed, I admit, put a soulless expression with nothing, improving how the comedy works in this or that. And it’s hard too to notice where the director wants to convey. Maybe I laugh in situations that aren’t a comedy but also vice versa. You can say this movie as an interconnected story with unrelated characters of things. It shots in witty and absent sketches that involve lots of people with different points. You can say it like Alejandro’s ex-girlfriend who strangely relies on drugs. She later meets a guard dog and often tells stories together. This movie uses these types of stories but it is also confusing to say that this is an arthouse movie. Neither both of them.

To be honest, I enjoy every moment of this movie. Almost all of the scenes are surprisingly laughable and enjoyable at least for me. I don’t know about other viewers. It has some quite humorous moments. The dialogue between characters is very normal but so absurd in so many ways. There isn’t just subtle enough to pay as much as many viewers to put their interest and attention. It leaves the movie without many people knowing. However, “The Magic Gloves” is a decent deadpan cinematic surrealistic comedy movie with just not enough pay-off.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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