Venevision International presents
Caballos salvajes (1995)
"Jose and Pedro. Sounds religious, doesn't it?"- Pedro (Leonardo Sbaraglia)
Stars: Hector Alterio, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Cecilia Dopazo, Fernan Miras
Director: Marcelo Pineyro
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence)
Run Time: 01h:59m:36s
Release Date: 2005-03-01
DVD ReviewSpanish-language films have had very few crossover hits in Hollywood. In recent years, it seems like every American remake has stemmed from a Japanese or Korean film, usually of the horror or supernatural variety. However, in 1995, there was an Argentine film that took the film festival circuit by storm. That film, Caballos salvajes (Wild Horses), wasn't a box-office hit here, but did grab the attention of studio executives who took some liberties with the film's plot, and used some of its elements to make some of the huge Hollywood hits of the last 10 years.
Caballos salvajes tells the story of an old man who goes to an insurance company to "steal" the money that they "owe" him. Just when it seems like the "robbery" is going on without a hitch, the cavalier insurance salesman he's dealing with interferes with the process and winds up as the old man's hostage. Soon after being taken, the insurance salesman begins to see himself as more of an accomplice than a hostage and grows close to the old man. Along the way, the two men meet a young woman, and this trio soon finds themselves being aided by their fellow countrymen as the police continue to track them down.
This isn't an all-out action romp by any means, but, similar to American films like Heat and Thelma & Louise, it's the psychological chase that propels the film forward. While the outlaws and police don't share many scenes together, the fact that director Marcelo Pineyro focuses on both parties during various stages of the film, keeps the story's blood flowing and the audience's pulses raised. If Pineyro could break through into the American mainstream somehow, he would be a force to be reckoned with.
While these actors won't be familiar to most of you, the three protagonists deserve a chance in American film, or at least a higher profile import. Hector Alterio (Jose), Leonardo Sbaraglia (Pedro), and Cecilia Dopazo (Ana) are phenomenal in their very challenging roles, exuding a natural screen presence and acting flair. It's just too bad that their work will go largely unnoticed anywhere other than in the Hispanic community, who will no doubt make up the majority of this film's audience. Hopefully, having Caballos salvajes readily available on this domestic DVD will open the eyes of film fans everywhere, regardless of whether they enjoy foreign films or not. This flick is a great excuse to make that jump and become a newly converted foreign film lover.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: While the DVD box says the film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, it's actually a 1.33:1, full-frame presentation. On top of that mistake, the picture looks horrible during most, if not the entire film. The main problem is that the colors are washed-out, with not a bit of distinction apparent between the individual colors in the palette. Image detail is horrid and almost completely lacking, and the amount of grain and dirt that litter the screen is very hard on the eyes.
Image Transfer Grade: D+
Audio Transfer Review: The audio is as basic as can be, and there are many action sequences where the track would have benefited from a more lively 5.1 mix. Still, the audio here isn't as much of a disaster as the video, especially given the crisp, clear dialogue. There's basically no bass presence, and music and sound effects are very limited given that they don't have much room to breathe, confined to the front speakers.
Audio Transfer Grade: C
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Lagrimas negras, Rito Terminal, Besos Para Todos
Packaging: Keep Case
Extras Review: The only extras offered here are cast and crew filmographies and trailers for other Venevision International DVD releases.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsFull of gripping drama and intense action, Caballos salvajes is one of the best Spanish-language films to come along in quite some time. The disc itself is lacking in the audio and video transfers, but this is a film worth checking out regardless.
Chuck Aliaga 2005-02-28