To the casual observer, the Argentine El Secuestador (The Kidnapper) seems to wallow in sordidness for its own sake. The characters are all dirt-poor, and their surroundings relentlessly filthy. The "hero" and "heroine" spend most of their time consummating their romance, most memorably (and audaciously) during a consensual-rape scene in a mortuary. And in another scene, a huge pig swallows the corpse of a baby. The point of El Secuestador seems to be to show the horrible consequences of grinding poverty, and to expose the hypocrisy of the rotten-to-the-core Establishment in dealing with that poverty. Director Leopoldo Torre-Nillson, here as elsewhere, is a superb visual stylist; the more sensitive viewer, however, may not be able to watch that style unfold for more than a few minutes at a time.
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