Love is what everybody needs in Susanne Bier’s profoundly (if accidentally) mean-spirited new film. And love is what they get—that is, if they happen to be either a good-hearted hairdresser undergoing cancer treatments or a widowed businessman with short tempers and untapped wells of sympathy.
Old-fashioned theorists might agree that the difference between film and digital is essentially the difference between Beyond the Clouds and Michelangelo’s Gaze: between touching (or failing to touch) a living body and feeling out the contours of a statue.
Night Across the Street is stitched together from a handful of tales by the Chilean author Hernán del Solar. As if to indicate just how much time he spent in made-up worlds, or maybe just for the sake of pulling off yet another act of sleight-of-hand, Ruiz gives us his autobiography in the form of an adaptation.
It may lack Rings’ rounded, three-dimensional contours, but it still gives us the impression that we’re inhabiting the unfamiliar world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, a place with its own laws of physics, its own history, languages, and social rituals.
Santos and Erika make an odd pair. He’s a dying hitman who’s just left his hospital bed for a whirlwind tour of old haunts and new prospects. She’s his much younger traveling partner, having leapt into his passenger seat after a gas station spat with her boyfriend.