Bernardo Antonaccio and Rafael Antonaccio direct Uruguayan feature, In the Quarry (En el pozo), a slow-burning thriller which sees the relationship of four friends challenged by a number of extreme circumstances. An uneasy watch, In the Quarry delivers some shocking narrative turns and moments of dread in its study of fractured relationships, jealousy and gender roles.
Written by The Antonaccios, the feature sees Alicia (Paula Silva) return to her rural childhood home with new boyfriend Bruno (Augusto Gordillo) introducing them to her old friends Tincho (Rafael Beltran) and Tola (Luis Pazos). Romantic tension between Alicia and Tincho begins to rear its head, spiking the attention of the jealous Bruno, which derails a peaceful day at a picturesque abandoned quarry.
Capturing the sun-baked Uruguayan exteriors with a rugged beauty, cinematography (from Rafael Antonaccio) also manages to create a sweaty, uncomfortable atmosphere in which the stifling claustrophobia between these emotionally volatile characters simmers. Juxtaposing this picturesque and quiet quarry with these heated emotions brings a level of originality and intensity to the Antonaccio’s film.
A sharp narrative tension between the central characters keeps In the Quarry engaging throughout – particularly as Tincho and Alicia – attempt to suppress their feelings around the hot tempered and already suspicious Bruno. The gradual mounting tension between Bruno and Tincho casts a sense of uneasiness – which in one moment is heightened by a diving incident above rusted iron spears in a bout of competitive machismo. The Antonaccios manage to build a worrying undercurrent throughout in the relationship between Alicia and Bruno – the latter bordering on psychologically abusive towards the film’s conclusion.
As tensions mount and In the Quarry veers more into survival horror territory – encapsulated in a frantic, fast paced conclusion, The Antonaccios provide some moments of gruesome gore and hard-hitting suspense.
In there characterisation, The Antonaccios could do more to develop the tumultuous relationship between Paula and Bruno – which reaches rapid extremes in a short space of time. Bruno’s transition from irritable grouch to something far more extreme could benefit from a slightly more creeping build-up as opposed to the quite rapid evolution that unfolds on screen.
In the Quarry is an intense, often uneasy watch. The Antonaccios generally have a tight and suspenseful grip over the proceedings which are well performed by the film’s game cast. Slightly more developed characterisation would enhance the overall impact that film leaves us with, however.