La Jauria (The Pack)

la-jauria-2Usually the remit of the short film, the single idea movie is not an easy story to pull off. With no subplots the emphasis is on the main story which has to be strong, compelling for the audience and very well mapped out. With a limited run time, this is fine but with La Jauria the idea is stretched out into an eighty-five-minute feature. It is a testament to the quality of the film that it works quite so well.

The film opens on a car deep in the woods. Inside are four unconscious men. The engine is on and the exhaust is rigged to feed carbon monoxide back into the vehicle. Two of the men wake up coughing and while trying to get the windows open find they are chained to their seats. They have no recollection as to how they got there and the reason behind it. Initial suspicion of each other turns to cooperation as they piece together their last recollections. Then a third man wakes up.

For the film to be a success there has to be a good mix of characters on screen. In the initial introduction, there is a definite divide between the two men. Ivan (Adam Quintero) is the Alpha male. He is the first one awake and almost as soon as David (Ferran Vilajosana) stirs he makes sure he is in charge with questions, instructions and demands. It is only when Marcus (Carlus Fabrega) wakes does his dominance encounter a threat. Another Alpha male means a challenge to his standing. With this going on as the story unfolds the tension mounts to breaking point very quickly.

la-jauria-1The director C. Martin Ferrera makes full use of the limited space that he has imposed on himself in the first half of the drama. To keep it visually interesting a range of shots and techniques are used. Practically every inch of the interior of the car is utilised to emphasise the dilemma that the men are facing with editing used to great effect in keeping the tension mounting.

It is in the second half of the film that it opens up slightly. Another character is introduced in the form of a passing rambler. The film takes this into account with there being more shots from outside of the car but crucially with it still being the sole focus of the drama. This provides a little relief for both the story and the audience before it gets very dark again.

With a very tight run time and an absorbing story, this is one that is well worth seeking out.

John McArthur
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