by Mario Fierro
Camino is an entertaining film but falls short in a lot of areas. This cat and mouse chase in the woods of Columbia features stunt-woman turned actress Zoe Bell as our lead. Her portrayal of Avery, a photojournalist, was very dull throughout the entire film, no sense of charisma, no smiling. It is the editing and eerie music, ultimately, that affected the overall experience.
When Avery arrives to Columbia it seems that the filmmakers really struggled. The scene that would’ve established the location and introduced us to the people of Columbia was kept so far into the movie. Also, the filmmakers ended up with night scenes that were too dark; an audience member will find himself trying to figure out what is going on. This worked to build suspense in some of the scenes but not in most. The editor seems to cut away from a lot of important or interesting parts of the film; for example, we see no award being given to Avery at the beginning of the film, we hear only the audio.
The filmmakers do succeed at making us care for the main character though. We want to take this journey with Avery and are curious for what will happen to her. She is in a vulnerable position and it's impossible not to care for her safety. As a photographer she truly blended with her surroundings and tried to capture the truth from wherever she was, even if it meant sacrificing her life. She has passion and that’s something we as an audience like. After a night walk, Avery witnesses a horrible event and instead of running away, her photojournalist instincts kick in. The moment you find yourself absorbed though, what follows snaps you right back to reality. Instead of going on with the drama, what follows is a 30 second slow pan of the woods. The eerie music and sounds seemed very experimental in this scene because it seemed like they were climaxing to something that wasn’t really coming. Later in the movie though the screeching sounds and eerie music made the chase scenes very intense, the filmmakers just didn’t know when to use these technique and when not to.
There is very good camera work throughout and the editing does better on action scenes. The rhythmic beats and the intensity that these action scenes entail were really met by the editor. Once I feel sucked into the story though, little details like fake blood snaps me right back. The blood looked too bright and messily placed on at times. Overall though, the experimental techniques used to visually show the death of a person or of someone getting shot at were very interesting. It created beautiful imagery.
The journey to get to the truth can cost a life and Camino shows us just that. Whether we obtain the truth by taking pictures or through that last intimate solitary moment before dying, the truth will arise no matter what. “We call it Camino, the way. All life is the journey to the center, at the center is truth,” says one of the guerrilla soldiers.