The producers for El Circulo De Raynard would have you believe this film successfully blends together several different filmmaking styles. Documentary (albeit of the faux variety), traditional narrative and found footage are “expertly” combined, to produce a film unlike any you will have seen.
The film’s premise revolves around a film crew investigating the story of Frederich Raynard, a Nazi war-criminal who escaped capture at the end of World War II and fled to rural Spain. Settling there he established a cult. As the film crew investigate, they discover supernatural rituals and a far-reaching cover-up that will put all of their lives at risk.
Given the low budget the filmmakers worked with, El Circulo De Raynard is an accomplished piece of work. There are rare moments that point towards a lack of resources such as the depiction of any on-screen violence, but this is possibly over-critical. In truth, there are few signs of how tightly the costs needed to be monitored. While this should not be a decisive caveat with which to the judge the film, it is still a point worth mentioning.
Further positives can be found within the intriguing and the complex plotting. For the most part the twists and turns are carefully mapped out as, while the team delves into the mystery, you discover what they do. On the whole the cast perform well, and inhabit their roles with just enough conviction as to ensure disbelief is kept to a minimum. Issues begin to arise, however, when the story falls victim to over-complication in the final act, and you find yourself preoccupied with trying to unravel the convolutions rather than just going with them. At this point the film slips into moments of random contrivance that detracts from what had gone before, and fails to make the kind of dramatic impact the filmmakers were surely hoping for.
Don’t misunderstand; El Circulo De Raynard is an impressive film for what it is; but it is one that demands a bigger budget, one that deserves the freedom that comes from the resources necessary to polish some of those rough edges, that at times become just too distracting. In trying to sell the film as a genre-hybrid, the filmmakers have also done their own film a disservice. One focussed style would have given El Circulo De Raynard a stronger central theme and premise, whereas instead the finale leaves you a little confused and disappointed.
EL CIRCULO DE RAYNARD / CERT: TBC / DIRECTORS: MARÍA VALLE, MANUEL VIDAL / SCREENPLAY: RAÚL GONZÁLEZ / STARRING: DAVID CARRIO, JOSÉ LUIS CHAVARRÍA, NATLIA DÍAZ / RELEASE DATE: UK RELEASE DATE TBA