Rock, Paper, and Scissors
Directors: Martín Blousson, Macarena García Lenzi
Writers: Martín Blousson, Macarena García Lenzi, Julieta García Lenzi, Valentín Javier Diment
Starring: Agustina Cerviño, Valeria Giorcelli, Pablo Sigal
People mean to help, but they can be a nuisance.
Rock, Paper, and Scissors tells the story of three half-siblings: Magdalena, Maria José, and Jesús. Magdalena has been living in Spain as an actress, but she is brought back to her home when the father of all three tragically kills himself. She plans on a brief stay in order to set the estate affairs in order, but on the way out of the house, she slips and suffers a horrible injury. Slips … or is pushed? Much of the rest of the story focuses on Magdalena trying to figure out which of her siblings pushed her, and, as they care for their invalid sister in only a way they can, the whole situation slowly slips into madness. There is truly no place like home.
This brilliant film has just about all the right ingredients. It’s one-part murder mystery, one-part psychological horror, but it’s got some great dark humor and an assortment of bizarre oddities (those home-made movies!) that give life to a production that is anything but stale. It also utilizes several different motifs — from biblical references (like all of the characters’ names), to oft-repeated tics (“Would you like some tea?”), to a heavy reliance on The Wizard of Oz.
The acting, for lack of a better term, is to die for. Agustina Cerviño excellent portrays the fish-out-of-water sibling who can barely contain her discomfort with the entire situation. Valeria Giorcelli has such a wide-range of talent contained within one role; your emotions will range from empathy, to jovial, to uncomfortable, to dread as she both her character and her performance refuse to be stopped. In contrast, Pablo Sigal is convincingly awkward, stiff, trying to do his best, and wonderfully carries the third act of the film into its conclusion.
If there’s one gripe I had with the film, it’s the portrayal of disability. Maria José is clearly mentally unstable, but as the film goes on, you start to wonder if anyone really is. Maria gets the most time, though, as the character who you don’t want to be around, and it sometimes straddles the line of inappropriately using disability as a horror trope. It manages not to cross the line, I’d argue, but it gets pretty close.
Rock, Paper, and Scissors is a stand-out film in just about every way. The limited cast and space turns around and creates unlimited potential for a story of a broken family that merits repeated viewing.