The myriad twists upon turns in the finale might convince you otherwise, but “Intuition (La Corazonada)” has been an eye-rollingly formulaic police procedural up to that point. Savvy viewers have stayed with it only because it’s from the same director, Alejandro Montiel, who made “Perdida.”
He’s good on the whole “surprise” finish thing, if nothing else. .
The even twistier “Perdida” is based on a novel by Florencia Etcheves, a tale of a cop, Pipa (Luisana Lopilato) obsessed with figuring out what happened to a childhood friend who disappeared in Patagonia years before.
“Intuition” is a prequel that shows us the early years of the detective who would develop that killer “Intuition.”
Manuela “Pipa” Pelari is a mere uniform when she gains notice helping hot-shot detective Francisco Juanez (Joaquín Furriel) crack a religious crank kidnapping case. She’s immediately thrown together with the dark, brooding and mysterious Juanez on a murder case. A teenage girl has been killed in her house. Did her boyfriend or “best friend” do it?
The boss (Sebastián Mogordoy) has another assignment, on the side, for Pipa. The mysterious Juanez lost his wife in an armed robbery, and the guy who did it was run over (in the film’s opening scene) just after being let out of jail.
Did Juanez and his brother cops kill him and cover it up? She’s got to set up her own undercover investigation in the basement of her building while bird-dogging clues in the murder she’s working with Juanez, without letting on she’s put a tracker on Juanez’s car and is digging deeper into the death of this Gypsy crime family member who killed his wife.
As we’ve seen the dead murderer’s mother berate the dead guy’s older sibling with “Your brother is CRYING OUT for revenge” (in Spanish, with English subtitles or dubbed into English),” we expect the hoodlums to be carrying out their own investigation into Juanez.
Only they don’t.
This slow and atmospheric thriller travels in cop movie cliches. The old “Tell me your SECRET” plea to Juanez by the fetching Pipa earns a predicted “If I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret.”
Just as trite an exchange in Spanish as it is in English, I have to say.
Smoldering Juanez is borderline clairvoyant in his crime-solving abilities, and by day he’s trying to pass that on to Pipa, who by night is looking into where he was the night of a murder.
They stand over an exploitively-displayed nude teenage body and Juanez insults the coroner by quizzing Pipa — “What do you see on this corpse?”
The serial kidnapper/killer thing in the pre-credits opening has an urgency and punch — as overdone as Bible-quoting serial killer tales are — that the rest of the movie never comes close to matching.
Montiel’s gloomy production design (including the austere, industrial and chic police station) suits the tone he’s going for in these movies. But it’s not enough.
And all these complications in the finale, betrayals and intrigues within the mystery within a mystery, don’t atone for that movie-long shortcoming.
I like the character, and Lopilato makes her (no off-duty life, no “back story” other than we know she lost a friend in childhood) interesting enough to want to see more. But perhaps she should start fighting for the character’s motives, for coloring more of her in.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, violence, nudity
Cast: Luisana Lopilato, Joaquín Furriel
Credits: Written and directed by Alejandro Montiel. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:53