Common Wealth (2000)

Genres - Comedy, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Comedy, Black Comedy  |   Release Date - Nov 26, 2004 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - Spain  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Jason Buchanan

With the influence of the master of suspense engrained in every frame of the film right down to the stunning opening credit sequence, flamboyant Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia (Day of the Beast, Purdita Durango) weaves a hilariously dark tale of murderous greed set among the quirky and menacing inhabitants of a tightly knitted apartment complex in La Comunidad. After discovering the 15-million-dollar booty of a recently deceased tenant, middle-aged property saleswoman Julia (Carmen Maura) thinks that she may have found the answers to her dreams of finding something more in life. Little does she know that the oddly menacing residents of the building know well of the elusive treasure, and have for years been building their dreams around aquiring the formerly well-guarded winnings. As the greedy obsessions of all in question spiral unhinged into a frenzy of desperation, Jorge Guerricaechevarria's clever and snappy screenplay keeps the viewer constantly on their toes, right up to the hilariously white-knuckled finale atop one of Madrid's most notable landmarks. Equally effective is Roque Banos' giddily dizzying score, taking a cue from Bernard Herrmann while adding a spice of such contemporary influences as Danny Elfman. Kiki de la Rico's murky lens lends the perfect creepy atmosphere to the creaky old building, becoming increasingly frantic as greed trickles from the drip of suspicion into a tidal wave of compulsive madness. Nominated for 15 Goyas and taking home three, the film won Best Special Effects and Best Supporting Actor (Emilio Gutuierrez Caba), while Maura's visually unsettling transformation from carefree working woman to a desperate money-hording beast earned her a win for Best Lead Actress.