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By Ashley Cooper | March 29, 2004

A child is born and all the angels sing. His name is Jesus, but he is a mistake to his parents, so they give him up. Even God seems to have turned his back on the child. So, he grows up alone, but determined to make something of himself and live up to his promise.

This is quite a lot to take in during the first moments of a movie, but it’s pretty much what the narrator gives us at the opening of “La Muerte del Senor”. From here, the pace doesn’t slow much. The narrator continues his account as the child becomes a man and an artist. But, Jesus learns that art does not pay, so he sells cocaine to support his family. Everything has its time and place though, so Jesus does not let them come into contact with his clients. Everything seems to be going fine until one of Jesus’ regulars, upset that Jesus wouldn’t front him the money for his latest fix, informs the cops about Jesus’ business.

Granted, the story is a bit heavy-handed. The overacting of some of the police does not help matters. However, the real problem is that the story is extremely rushed and doesn’t fit together in a few key places. Most striking is the sudden and seemingly arbitrary ending. Nevertheless, there is a certain feel to the movie that compensates for many of its shortcomings. The cinematography, which looks like an old super8 home movie, suits the subject and adds a element of realism—at least to those old enough to remember and identify with this format. Complementing the visual tone is the filmmaker’s choice of somberly morbid background music.

There is something here, but it’s either lost in the Spanish to English translation or the filmmakers lacked the time or resources to bring it forth.

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