This quietly arty, almost surreal zombie-like drama plays out as a subtle, satirical and darkly comedic and melancholic commentary on love, life and politics. Mario, a lonely morgue clerk whose infatuation with the Folies Bergère dancer next door is the unlikely hero, and we can't help but watch as his suppressed inner turmoil plays out against the violent chaos of Chile's 1973 military coup.
Perhaps overly mordant and glum for most American audiences (says I, raising my hand), but I guess if you are in the know politics-wise, it's pretty cleverly presented. I found it interesting, at first. The cinematography is intelligently designed, the actions are edited with plenty of breathing room and show-don't-tell cleverness, and the actors are brilliantly cast.
Alfredo Castro is eerily cool and compelling in his gaunt, lanky gloom. He brings to mind a David Straithern or a Julian Richings. His look, more than anything he does or says, really sells the political and personal juxtapositions here. It's not the first time zombies have been used for political, professional and personal allegories — George Romero, of course; as well as Ingmar Bergman's Cries & Whispers and a few others. As corpses pile up at the Santiago morgue while Mario pursues his passion for his dancer neighbor, he becomes a symbol of every Chilean citizen who has ignored pervasive crisis.
Unfortunately, as beautifully presented as it is, and no matter how creepily authentic the autopsied and rotting cadavers look, Post Mortem is D.O.A. in the suspense department. And I don't mean just 'horror suspense': The idea of inertia and ennui ennui is too-perfectly presented, too-realistically; after the first act, I just didn't care about anything or anyone, anymore.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson