REVIEW: ‘The Sharks’ Is a Subtle yet Hypnotic Coming of Age Film

Rating: 3 out of 3.

“Weaves together the hypnotic threads of the casual cruelty of youth and identity”

Lucía Garibaldi subtly and artfully weaves together the hypnotic threads of the casual cruelty of youth and identity in her first feature film, The Sharks. Having premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, the film centers on a young, teenage girl restlessly passing the days in her small beachside town after spotting a dorsal fin circling in the water before the rush of summer vacationers.

Rosina (Romina Bentancur) is a 14 year old girl reckoning with her emotions, sexuality, and identity throughout the film and as a protagonist, Rosina often feels too distant and inaccessible, both to the other characters in the film and to the audience at large. While this is one of the film’s weaker points, it still serves to highlight the uncertainty of identity that circles Rosina’s coming of age journey just as Rosina herself circles Joselo (Federico Morosini) like a shark. Without any substantial identity of her own yet, Rosina emulates the television she watches. A reality talent show prompts her desire to find a passionate and stare-worthy love; one public service announcement on animal rights and suddenly she becomes exceedingly reluctant for her family to adopt a puppy; a video on how to make explosives inspires her  idea for keeping the shark she had spotted away from the prying eyes of the other locals. However, when each of these attempts prove unsuccessful at either fulfilling her own sense of self or regaining the attention of her crush Joselo, Rosina is left only with her own ignorance, cruelty, and indifference to combat that of life’s.

Filmed in Uruguay, Argentina, and Spain, The Sharks is filled with beautiful cinematography – the expanse of beaches, forests, and paved roads separating Rosina from other people as she consciously wills herself further and further away. The film maintains a sedate pace throughout, choosing to carefully and subtly work through its central themes and questions. Despite any growing wariness you might feel towards its slow pace, The Sharks will reel you in and maintain that hypnotic lull of an enticing storyline until the credits are rolling. 

Directed By: Lucía Garibaldi

Produced By: Isabel García, Pancho Magnou Arnábal

Cast: Romina Bentancur, Federico Morosini, Fabián Arenillas, Antonella Aquistapache, Valeria Lois

Release Date: June 6, 2019

Featured Image Courtesy of Montelona Cine