Nicotina is anything but addictive

Sept. 28, 2004, midnight | By Erica Hartmann | 19 years, 5 months ago

Violence, blood, special effects, beautiful women, nicotine addiction, twisted relationships and truly frightening coincidences could probably make a pretty good movie. However, Nicotina is not.

The basic idea is that one man has a bunch of diamonds and another hacks into a Swiss bank. They exchange goods. However, fate intervenes, and nothing goes as planned. Chaos ensues, and the film falls apart because no two elements of the whole work are logically cohesive.

The best asset of Nicotina is Diego Luna (Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Y Tu Mamá También). Even though his character is a rotten stalker who plants webcams in his neighbor's apartment in order to watch her constantly, Luna is so cute that he manages to stay not only tolerable but worthy of pity throughout the film. As for the rest of the cast--which includes a vehement nonsmoker who is afraid of dogs, an equally vehement smoker with a very bleak outlook on life, a simple barber, a greedy, psychopath barber's wife and a scary, fat Russian--every last one of them is utterly despicable. They're all sick with money-lust and have no moral scruples whatsoever.

All of these odd characters dance through a very tightly choreographed sequence, fueled entirely by multiple factors coinciding and the intense desire to get rich. The action revolves heavily around a shootout, which lasts from about 20 minutes into the movie until five minutes before the end. The only thing that outnumbers gunfire in this film is cigarettes.

The plot, which in theory should drive the action, is a muddled wreck. There are so many events happening simultaneously, and attention shifts from one set of characters to another so quickly that the grand scheme is not completely evident until a few days (and a few plot summaries) after viewing the movie. To remedy the confusion, scenes are enhanced with a little rectangle that zooms in on important details while the rest of the scene is in a blurry freeze frame. That technique, however, is annoying and disruptive to the tone of the film, which completely defeats the purpose.

Most of the film is caught up in a frantic scramble to recover a CD with the codes to access a Swiss bank (although it actually has footage of Luna's extremely seductive neighbor playing her cello) and a satchel of diamonds. Excellently chosen industrial beats accompany these scenes, but the music is loud to the point of distraction. The same is true of the lounge music used in other parts of the movie.

Nicotina is at best Tarantino-esque and at worst a ploy for ticket sales that abuses human depravity and excessive violence.

Nicotina is rated R for violence and language. It is in Spanish with English subtitles. It runs 93 minutes and is playing at the E Street Cinema.

Tags: print

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