Raul Peralta, a 50-year-old man, is obsessed with John Travolta's character from Saturday Night Fever. He spends his days perfecting his impression until the weekend, where he acts out his favorite scenes from Saturday Night Fever in a small bar. Raul has dreams of success in showbiz, and when a major Tony Manero impersonating contest is announced, he may have a shot at living out his dreams. Although because of Raul's obsession, he stops at nothing to get what he needs to capture his idol's persona, committing crimes of theft and even murder that leaves the secret police on his trail. Much like his first film, Pablo Larrain's Tony Manero is a commentary on the oppressive regime in Chile, painting a bleak picture of the climate during the time. Throughout this story the presence of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship is felt, though it is never put in the forefront of the narrative. We see secondary characters affected by this but much of the films' point lies in Raul's actions being symbolic of the oppressive regime. While Raul is an undeniable portrait of a sociopath, he is a man whose lost his own identity to the totalitarian state with the film using his extreme resolve in getting what he needs to create his impression as a result of cultural imperialism. The aesthetic that Pablo Larrian and company create for the film is perfect, using a dark palette almost devoid of color along with grim and dusty locations. It looks how oppression feels but the use of soft focus is my favorite part. There are multiple scenes throughout this film where our characters are shown in a soft focus, with Larrain using this blurred affect to visually express this loss of identity the characters feel. Pablo Larrain's Tony Manero is a grim, dark exploration of the effects a totalitarian regime has on its citizens, with Larrain using sex and violence to hammer the point home in an interesting and fascinating way.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.