10.000 KM, the new film from Spanish writer/director Carlos Marques-Marcet, his first full-length work. By turns sweet, funny, angry, sad (and a lot more in between), the movie should grab you from its opening shot -- of a couple cumming -- in which, while the sex is plenty hot and intimate, the talk that accompanies it proves even more so. These two lovebirds are fascinating to watch at work and at play.
As the relationship grows (and maybe unravels), we peer into the themes of work and career vs relationship intimacy, as well as into male vs female needs and behavior. Humor and sadness bubble up in unlikely places -- trying to prepare a cooking recipe via Skype, dancing together while holding their laptops aloft -- and so do anger and hurt. As for sex, well, 10.000 KM proves rather definitively that in-person beats the hell out of digital every time.
The movie is a two-hander, something very difficult to maintain, and in recent seasons only the one-hander, Locke, has done this sort of thing any better. This is thanks to Marques-Marcet's skill and to the two actors he has used so well and who deliver performances that are about as real as you could wish. Who is the stronger character is a question that is raised as we move along, and the answer may surprise and unsettle you a bit. The actors chosen by the filmmaker also prove spectacularly well cast -- as sexy and real as each is talented and versatile.
David Verdaguer (above, right) -- those deep, dark eyes and lean, lithe body! -- proves as gorgeous and pliable as you could wish. Clothed or nude, he is always at his best, and the journey his character makes, in terms of both physical distance and emotions, is one that this actor brings to thrilling life.
Natalia Tena (above) is equally good -- visually and emotionally -- as a woman who works hard to understand her various roles and make them coalesce. Her explanation of how and why her man loves her is one of the highlights of the film. While her character's great strength is clear, so is her abiding need for both his kindness and his cock.
My only complaint is that the filmmaker has chosen to divide his movie in sections based on the days apart the couple has spent -- beginning with Day 2 and ending, if I am not mistaken, with Day 201. In between, we get days 16, 33, 40, 51, 71, 91, 93, 101, 106, 128, 132, 135, 141, 142, 155, 160, 162 and 171. I'm all for specificity, but this is overkill. Also, should we begin parsing the actual time between days -- hey, that early period was two weeks, but this last one spans more than three! -- we'll miss important moments having to do with the behavior on view.
Otherwise, 10.000 KM proves a model independent movie: genuine, thoughtful, amusing, moving and disturbing. If you're a fan of love stories, this may be the best you'll get this year (after the enchanting, audlt fairy tale 5 to 7, of course).
Broadgreen Pictures and running 99 minutes, the movie opens today, Friday, July 10, in New York City at the IFC Center, in Los Angeles at the Sundance Sunset Cinemas -- and will expand to other theaters around the country beginning next week. For those of you not near NYC and L.A., the film hits VOD simultaneous to its theatrical debut today.