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  • Jennifer Green

Review: "Down the Rabbit Hole"

This offbeat and disturbing yet enthralling drama constructs an imagined world that displays a continued solidification of the distinctive personal voice and style of Mexican director Manolo Caro. The premise of Down the Rabbit Hole is the life of a 10-year-old boy raised entirely within the confines of his drug-lord father's sprawling compound. But none of that is spelled out for us.


Rather, Caro reveals the realities of this world piece by piece, from a spoiled child with an oddly shaved head and no friends his own age, to his father's seething intimidation of a dinner guest, to symbolic wild animals locked up in cages in the yard, to a basement full of weapons.


We are along for the ride, and the film -- co-written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu's regular collaborator Nicolás Giacobone, based on a novel by Juan Pablo Villalobos -- masterfully holds back key pieces of information to both arouse our curiosity and increase the tension. It's clear something is off from the very opening scene, when the boy sits alone in a long hall of taxidermized animals and a tall wall of hats.


The composition and setting feel reminiscent of Wes Anderson, but the story goes off in much a darker and more sinister direction. It's as if we are becoming aware of the evils that lurk, and losing our innocence alongside Tochtli. Besides the unique look of the film, the tale also works thanks to exceptional performances by the underappreciated García-Rulfo (The Lincoln Lawyer) and child actor Miguel Valverde.


 

Read the full review at Common Sense Media.




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