Impulsos (2002)

Who’s in control — the killer or his potential victim?

vt Impulses
Spain / 88 minutes / color / Castelao, Filmax, TVE, Via Digital, ICAA, ICF Dir & Scr: Miguel Alcantud Pr: Julio Fernández Cine: Tote Trenas Cast: Ana Risueño, Daniel Freire, Walter Moreno, Miquel García Borda, Liz Lobato, Ruth Puebla, Michaela Brízová, Paloma Ruiz de Alda, Ricardo Gómez, Carmen Andrés Urtasun. New State Band: Horacio Icasto (piano), Pablo Martín (double bass), Noah Shaye (drums), Antonio Serrano (harmonica), Paloma Berganza (vocals), joined by Christian Howes (electric violin).

Impulsos - 0 opener

When you learn that one of the two principal characters in a movie is a serial killer, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the movie’s just another serial-killer chiller. Like Felicia’s Journey (1999), Impulsos takes those elements and uses them to make something very much more interesting. It’s the portrait of a relationship that develops between a young woman and a serial killer . . . and of course that description can easily give rise to another false assumption, that somehow she’s going to melt his heart. No: As in real life, the psychopath remains a psychopath, and the relationship between them isn’t a sexual one—at least in any ordinary interpretation of that term.

The pre-credits setup is that beautiful young Madrid violinist and videographer Lola Millán (Risueño) and her artist lover Mario (Moreno) are in the bath, with a videocamera set up to observe them. They’re smiling and laughing together, but then we see Lola withdraw as Mario’s blood spreads across the water.

Lola spends much of the movie’s running time under the false name Sara, so for the sake of convenience that’s what we’ll call her from here on.

Months pass, and Sara clearly hasn’t gotten over Mario. The only reason she’s still alive is that she can’t bring herself to commit suicide. Time and again she sits in the bath and puts a razor blade to her wrist, but finds herself incapable of making the fatal hack. We sense (correctly) that she’s trying to fulfill her side of the bargain that she and Mario made, that the video of them killing themselves in the bath was to be their last and greatest artwork.

Impulsos - 7 Mario and Sara prepare to make their 'artwork' PUT NEAR START

Mario (Walter Moreno) and Sara (Ana Risueño) prepare to make their “artwork.”

Impulsos - 4 Sara tries to make the video of her killing herself

Sara (Ana Risueño) tries to make a video of her own suicide.

Meanwhile, we encounter a primary schoolteacher whom we’ll learn to call Jaime (Freire). He’s on the prowl in a shopping mall. He sees a pretty girl (Ruiz de Alda) leave her boyfriend (Gómez) for a moment to pop into the restroom. Jaime follows her, and what we learn of her fate is that a short while later Continue reading