Directed and co-written by Mariano Cattaneo, I might think of Una Tumba Para Tres (or “One Grave for Three Men“) as a comedy if so much death and so many terrible things had not befallen its characters. This Spanish-language, Argentinian film started off seeming like a run-of-the-mill crime-drama but progressively morphed into a chimera of comedy and unexpected horror, however, all the while, One Grave for Three Men keeps a healthy B-movie glow with sometimes hammy acting and antics that sharply turn from slapstick to gore.
One Grave for Three Men is a black comedy with colorful characters and cinematography — it was truly a visual and auditory treat, and loads of fun to boot. At times, One Grave for Three Men shows glimmers of low-budget-film tropes sneak their way to the film, but otherwise, One Grave for Three Men is a solid film that was honestly a very good time to watch! The film takes place over one unfortunate day and mostly within the confines of one home, but thankfully the unique camera angles and entertaining characters kept the pace steady and the film interesting.
One Grave for Three Men follows three hired henchmen — Víctor (Diego Cremonesi), Juan (Daniel Pacheco), and Manuel (Demián Salomón) — who are tasked with tracking down a fellow henchman presumed to have run off with the boss’ money from a recent heist. After finding and killing their target, they find that they jumped the gun on their kill when the mark is needed for further questioning. To avoid being reprimanded by their demanding boss, the three amigos seek out a voodoo pimp to bring their murdered foe back to life, however, the more they try to fix their murderous mistake, the more blood they get on their hands.
I appreciated writers Mariano Cattaneo and Nicanor Loreti including strong female characters — though they were certainly secondary characters, Mónica Villa in her role as the elderly but tough neighbor and Daniela Pantano and Soledad García as the hardnosed hookers were a joy to watch and stole the show in each scene they were featured in. For once, the women in this film were given authentic use of common sense and handled more of the explanations than the men, what with all of the madness going on between them. Also, Diego Cremonessi in the lead role of head gang member somehow mustered both the look and comedic delivery of Jim Varney mixed with the swagger of someone like Gerard Butler — an odd combination that worked for this crime-comedy.
The title of the film sort of exposes the climax and tells the ultimate joke of the film upfront, however, One Grave for Three Men is still entertaining throughout its runtime, despite brief lapses in production and acting quality. As someone unfamiliar with Argentinian cinema, One Grave for Three Men feels like an offshoot of typical American cinema that goes ultra-violent when it dabbles in crime, which is unfortunate, as it sidesteps introducing any cultural context or social commentary that could have added some depth in the film — overall, One Grave for Three Men is for pure entertainment, and its entertainment value is only so-so.
6.25 out of 10
This film is part of Fantaspoa, which ran for free on the streaming platform Darkflix, from April 9th through the 18th. All film screenings are geo-blocked to Brazil, with additional details available at www.fantaspoa.com.