Amor Bandido (Bandit Love and Wicked Love) is awaiting a UK release date.
Daniel Andres Werner’s feature-length directorial debut, Amor Bandido, starts as a steamy forbidden romance drama centred on manipulation and control before transitioning to a shocking and, at times, uncomfortable thriller. While interesting, the transition in the narrative feels messy, and we are left with an engaging and tightly woven film that holds several interesting twists and turns before eventually running out of steam.
Joan (Renato Quattordio) is an average sixteen-year-old who spends his nights listening to music while working on school projects. However, Joan has a secret that, if discovered, could change his life forever. Joan has been involved in an illicit affair with his school teacher, Luciana (Romina Ricci), for months, and when he finds out that Luciana plans to quit her job due to their affair, he agrees to run away with her to a remote farmhouse, where the couple can finally be together, free from rules and regulations; at least, that’s how Joan sees it. But as Luciana and Joan settle into the remote cabin, secrets are revealed as sex becomes a deadly weapon.
From the outset, Amor Bandido carries an uneasy feeling as it introduces you to Luciana and Joan and their manipulative and uncomfortable affair. The opening forty minutes of Werner’s movie are a strange mash-up of Shannon Tweed’s erotic thriller A Woman Scorned (1993) and Hannah Fidell’s far more serious exploration of teacher and student relationships in A Teacher (2013). However, as Luciana and Joan settle into their remote cabin, Werner ratchets up the tension as the sex scenes are replaced by a feeling of impending doom. It is here where Joan’s innocence in the emotional games at play becomes more and more visible as he ignores multiple warning signs that Luciana may not be the person he thinks he loves.
Despite some solid tension as things spiral out of Joan’s control, the final act struggles to wrap things up. Here, the final scenes are somewhat ambiguous as Werner quickly looks for an escape route. As a result, Amor Bandido never quite finds its voice, but somehow, it remains engaging. While Werner’s debut feature is quickly forgotten, Amor Bandido has just enough spice, shocks and steam to keep its head above water.
While Werner’s debut feature is quickly forgotten, Amor Bandino has just enough spice, shocks and steam to keep its head above water.