After the death of his father, Alfredo must lead his family in their time-honored ritual, which includes abducting people off the street, and, if the contents of his father’s stomach are anything to go by, eating them.
I dislike lazy comparisons. Proclamations such as “This year’s –insert title of last year’s sleeper hit-“ or “Best film since –insert title of last year’s big hit-“ are misleading. As is the case with the mesmerizing Mexican psychodrama We Are What We Are, which is, apparently, “This year’s Let The Right One In.”
It really isn’t, and to state such does a disservice to both films. In fact the only real similarities between the two are that they are both foreign language and they are both, largely, quiet and introspective.
We Are What We Are should not work. Not a huge amount happens, and at a reasonably slow pace, and its intentions, for the most part, remain vague. So it is to writer/director Jorge Michel Grau’s credit and vision that quite the opposite is true. The family politics and drama at play draw you into the proceedings, and play on your morbid curiosity to develop intrigue as to what the true nature of the family’s grizzly ‘ritual’ entails.
While the synopsis could lend itself to a much more exploitative film, this is, in truth, an exercise in quiet subtlety. So vague with its core idea that often you find yourself question what you know to be true.
The key to its success is its realistic humanity, which, along with the top drawer acting, has you unwittingly rooting for a collective of cannibalistic monstrosities.
Also, I feel the visuals must be noted. While it’s true the film is constantly shrouded in depressingly earthy tones, the texture and depth never get boring, and are perfectly judged to suit the reality of the characters.
As a side note, eagle eyed fans of Guillermo Del Toro may notice a scene that ties We Are What We Are into the same world as his own directorial debut Cronos.
B grade – for storytelling
A grade – for originality
B grade – for visuals
B grade – for acting
Overall grade B+