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The Ferpect Crime
cast: Guillermo Toledo, Luis Varela, Penelope Velasco, and Mónica Cervera

director: Alex de la Iglesia

104 minutes (15) 1997
widescreen ratio 16:9
Ricochet DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 9/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
First things first, The Ferpect Crime is not a spelling mistake! This Spanish film from cult director Alex de la Iglesia (Common Wealth and The Day Of The Beast) is a black comedy laced with wit and at times nigh-on slapstick comedic delivery. The story follows Rafael (Guillermo Toledo) in his pursuit of promotion. His colleagues love him and his charming personality - hell, he has slept with nearly all of the women there. As well as this he is almost the top salesman in the department store but unfortunately for him Don Antonio (Luis Varela) is the top dog. Well, at least that is the case until Rafael kills him. Cue some side-achingly funny scenes as Rafael with the help of the craziest, ugliest and most neurotic women in the store, Lourdes, sets about executing the perfect crime (I won't spoil the inspiration behind the film's title - other than to say it is not as cool as you may think). The price Rafael has to pay for Lourdes' assistance is marriage.

Mónica Cervera as Lourdes is superb and she is wonderfully complimented by Toledo. Together they create a bit of southern European magic and even in subtitles the comedy is well delivered and more importantly, funny. It is a film worth seeing for Rafael's encounter with his future wife's family alone. Lourdes' insatiable sexual appetite versus the ever-desperate Rafael's dreams of murder present a fantastically dichotomous view of their relationship, at least from their perspectives.

As well as the story of Rafael and Lourdes' enforced relationship - at least for one of them - there is an undercurrent of incisive social commentary in there that is subtle enough not to detract from the film at hand. Ultimately, ambition and money drove Rafael to murder and can be considered a sad indictment of today's neo-liberal society, and from Iglesia's point of view, a mocking critique of human nature; both when it comes to relationships and careers.

The Ferpect Crime is another strong Hispanic offering to come out in recent years - and whilst the comparisons with Almodóvar and del Toro maybe a tad lazy, they represent a thriving genre of directors from the Spanish language world and long may it continue. Iglesia certainly doesn't have the star quality that the aforementioned have, but more pictures like The Ferpect Crime and he will soon be climbing that virtual ladder of popular international acclaim.

Perhaps the only criticism is the dearth of DVD extras and the film's pretty shallow ending. Whilst not perfect, The Ferpect Crime is the best foreign film I have seen since Run Lola Run.

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