Hearing that her writer boyfriend (Tristán Ulloa) has been killed in an accident, a Madrid waitress (Paz Vega) named Lucia takes off for an island that figures more centrally in his past than she realized. As in his 1998 masterpiece Lovers of the Arctic Circle, Spanish writer/director Julio Medem here weaves an incredibly complex narrative, moved by coincidence and/or destiny, that challenges the audience to figure out just how all the characters and plot threads will converge. His leaps back and forth in time are a bit harder to follow this time--largely because one crucial flashback is so darkly shot and a few dramatic scenes are deliberately ambiguous--but the result is almost as rewarding as in his earlier film. Medem is a major talent--Vacas, his debut, was also terrific--and this may serve as his long overdue American breakthrough. Fans of convoluted narrative in the manner of Christopher Nolan and David Lynch are likely to be intrigued, although Medem has a far stronger streak of sentiment.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.