Cannibal (caníbal)

Directed by Manuel Martín Cuenca
  • Spain/Romania/Russia/France
  • 90 minutes
  • 2013

When a film-maker is capable of exploring a series of frankly outlandish filmic, thematic and moral propositions with absolute conviction and sureness of touch, the results are usually memorable. Such is the case with Manuel Martin Cuenca’s
Cannibal, a carefully crafted study of a psychopath that brings a whole new meaning to the phrase Eat, Pray, Love.

Carlos (de la Torre in a career-best performance) is a tailor with a snobbish disdain for prêt à porter. Quietly spoken, fastidious and dapper, he’s a fascinating figure, but imperfection threatens in the form of a Romanian immigrant (Olimpia Melinte) who comes to live in the house opposite. One night, following an argument over money, she seeks shelter at Carlos’ house: an ellipsis suggests that she does not survive the visit. Matters are complicated further when the girl’s twin sister comes looking for her.

Cannibal pulses from first scene to last with tension. But it is not the tension raised by the cheap question of how and when Carlos’s next victim will meet her end. Audiences will emerge from Cannibal with their perspectives slightly rearranged, something which few films can claim to do.

Jonathan Holland
The Hollywood Reporter

Antonio de la Torre, Olimpia Melinte