El Crimen Perfecto

Álex de la Iglesia’s plotty black comedy, set in a Madrid department store, contains some sort of parable about materialism and urban isolation, but is more easily enjoyed for its jump and jive of harsh, high absurdity. Rafael (Guillermo Toledo), the highly pro-active lothario of the ladies section and a born salesman, has worked up a glossy-catalogue idea of his own elegance and can’t countenance mediocrity. So ambitious a contender is he for the coveted floor-manager job that he accidentally, albeit in a rage, kills his rival, Don Antonio (Luis Varela). Fatefully, the lone witness to these proceedings is Lourdes (Monica Cervera), the homely, obsessive co-worker Rafael hadn’t deigned to notice before, who promptly becomes his blackmailer. Briskly paced, the movie sometimes telegraphs its moves too early, or simply steals them from other movies, but the net effect is happily unpredictable. It helps a lot to have fully committed performances from the entire cast.