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Review: The slick Spanish thriller ‘Boi’ is undercut by an abundance of style

Miranda Gas, Bernat Quintana, ‘Boi’
Miranda Gas and Bernat Quintana in the movie “Boi.”
(Netflix)

Teeming with neo-noirish sensibilities and sleek craftsmanship, “Boi,” from first-time Spanish writer-director Jorge M. Fontana, aims to examine an individual with unfulfilled artistic aspirations wrapped in a cryptic thriller; however, its stylish features overpower its many attempts at philosophical depth.

With professional rejection and a romantic crossroads burdening him, Boi (Bernat Quintana), a dejected writer in his late twenties whose name raises eyebrows wherever he goes, takes a job driving VIPs around Barcelona. On his first assignment as a chauffeur, man-child Michael (Andrew Lua) and dour Gordon (Adrian Pang), two Asian businessmen who don Western names when abroad, drag Boi into a hazardous chase.

Pushing the limits of “above and beyond” service, the gawky newbie takes it all in as possible sources for inspiration, especially the concept of trust.

Imbued with a touch of magical realism that never fully coalesces, there’s no perceptible cohesiveness to the plot. Fontana concentrates on putting odd characters in front of Boi and turning his tedious errands into heroic deeds in benefit of situations resolved off-camera. Ideas abound, but they mostly drown in the film’s commitment to vagueness.

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In a letter delivering the news that Boi’s novel won’t be picked up, a publisher commends the promising aptitude the author made visible through the submission, but regrets its lack of maturity. This review shares those exact sentiments in regards to Fontana’s movie.

‘Boi’
In Spanish and English with English subtitles

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 51 minutes

Playing: Available July 26 on Netflix

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