Marisol is a wonderful foil to Bernie. She too is a diligent worker, but recognizes that work has its place, saying at one point, “I work to live, not live to work.” She is content with the possessions and job that she has, and recognizes that people and living life are more important than making lots of money. At the same time, she doesn’t try to force the issue with Bernie, knowing that not only will she not change his behavior, but that this is something he must learn for himself.
The only problem I really had with the movie was the length. While it is a good length for a feature (106 minutes), it is a bit too long for the type of comedy it is. The story seemed to drag the most during their trek to the gas station, particularly when they enter a seemingly empty house to rest and get some water; they discover that the house is occupied when Bernie accidentally wakes up a deaf girl who had been sleeping on the couch. The girl’s terrified screams bring her father running and send Bernie and Marisol fleeing. There is no action or dialogue in this scene that is crucial to the movement of the story, and it seems out-of-place with the rest of their journey. I would recommend that Mr. Saldaña cut that scene, thus improving the flow of the movie and shortening it up by several minutes.
The lighting was good and balanced overall. There were a few places (usually when Bernie and Marisol were in the woods walking through patches of bright sunlight) where it got a tad overexposed, but it was nothing too bad. The editing is tight, and the scenes flow well from one to the next. The only suggestion I’d make is the one mentioned above, to shave a few minutes off of the total running time and improve the flow and cohesiveness of their journey.
The camerawork is a toss-up. On one hand, it is very good, particularly the use of the car rig that was used in several of the driving scenes. On the other hand, it was very shaky in many of the scenes. It’s not as bad as, say, Blair Witch Project, but it occurs often enough throughout the film to at least be somewhat distracting. There is little to do to fix shaky camerawork after the film is finished, so my suggestion would be to make some do-it-yourself camera rigs for future films. We have several guides for making such rigs, including ones for a steadicam <link> and a crane <link>.
The final thing is minor and very easy to fix: subtitles. There are several small grammar and spelling typos that pop up throughout the film, and even a spot where one subtitle is in Spanish! (Rather amusing, I thought.) These can be easily corrected by having a text editor look over the subtitles and proof them.
Use of Audio
First of all, I must say that I was absolutely amazed at the quality of the soundtrack. It is beautiful, well-done, and meshes very well with the film itself. The only part that needs some adjustment was the guitar solo that plays when Marisol and Bernie are at Don Ernesto’s house; it is too loud, thus the audio levels and sending them into the red. This can be corrected by adjusting and balancing out the levels.