Is it too early to give the Oscar for Best Foreign Short Film to Spain’s astonishing Orca & the Assassin?
In this apocalyptic thriller, a talented Samuel Sanchez gives a searing performance as a man on an orange Orbea Orca chased down deadly mountain switchbacks by a mysterious motorcyclist dressed in black.
The richly textured yet childlike film is a metaphorical journey in which a young man confronts his most primal fears and must draw on unexpected resources to triumph over a killer in a game of wits and courage, life and death.
Critics have already described the short two minute film funded by bicycle manufacturer Orbea as Felliniesque in its imagery but with an allegorical darkness reminiscent of Guillermo del Toro, the director of Pan’s Labyrinth. Keen film historians will also discover a subtle homage to both Alfred Hitchcock and silent film star Buster Keaton.
Yet the beating heart, the driving force of Orca & the Assassin is the slight but powerful Sanchez who gives the acting performance of a lifetime.
Already a gold medal winner in the Beijing Olympic Games of 2008, Sanchez seems destined to add an Oscar to his palmares.
The film is bereft of dialogue yet Sanchez is masterful in communicating a palette of emotions from apprehension and intense longing to righteous anger. While his dramatic quest is to vanquish the assassin, he taps into the universal themes of loss, redemption and the transformative power of spirituality.
The shocking end is both a reaffirmation of seminal truths and a query into the existence of the body and soul, the nature of love and the human need for self-affirmation.
This is a must-see for all believers in film as an art form and also those people in the market for a fast, lightweight, carbon race bike.