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Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar grabbed the attention of American audiences with his dreamy thriller Open Your Eyes, but he earlier sent shock waves throughout Spain in 1996 with this disturbing debut. Thesis is a quietly creepy psychological thriller about a young college student, Ángela (Ana Torrent) investigating the social fascination with sensational violence for her thesis project. In her search for violent video footage, she stumbles onto what may be a real live snuff film, a videotape that her professor was watching before his untimely death. With the help of a geeky gore junkie she uncovers a conspiracy that may include her handsome but sinister new boyfriend, her thesis advisor, and even her weirdo partner. When she uncovers one too many secrets lying in the catacombs of the university basement, she realizes that she may be the next victim. It goes on perhaps too long, and Amenábar's pointed observations on the lure of violence and the dark side of human nature are lost as the spiraling mystery spins into a first-person nightmare, but his skill at weaving a paranoid world where evil may lurk behind every friendly face is undeniable. Thesis is reminiscent of Brian De Palma's early thrillers: dark, stylish, subdued, and bubbling with the characters' guilty (and ultimately dangerous) fascination with the transgressive. --Sean Axmaker
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Top Customer Reviews
There's a love story thread in this also as Angela is both drawn to & fearful of the men who might be the killer... but that isn't revealed for awhile. An interesting immersive film about snuff containing the necessary (for me) mystery elements. Enjoyable & worth owning.
In his first feature, Amenabar uses violence and fear as means to explore deeper themes and psychology - in this case the way we're all drawn to violent images, even if we claim not to be. But these ideas stay pretty heady, and at times teeter on preachy or obvious. The film is full of wonderfully clever visual and sound techniques, but occasionally you become so aware of the flash and `hey, what a cool way to film a scene' that it takes you out of the movie. Also for me, the score is a little too obvious a Bernard Herrman homage.
It also goes on a little long. The first 75 minutes or so seemed downright brilliant, but when you drag a thriller out, often the creakiness of the plot shows through. In the end there are a few twists too many for credibility, and it crosses into, `c'mon, she would have gone to the cops by now' territory for the last half hour.
Yet, even once it starts to feel a bit silly, it's never dull, and the tension stays high. For all its flaws, it scared me and it got me to think, and that's always worth applauding.
"Thesis" tells the story of Spanish film student Angela Marquez (Ana Torrent) and her ghastly experiences as she prepares to work on her thesis at university. A closet voyeur fascinated with violence, Marquez hungers to do her thesis on the elusive film genre known as snuff. Snuff, of course, is the filming of real murder for entertainment value, and we all know such things do not exist in any marketable sense of the word.Read more ›
The nest day, Angela finds her professor dead in a viewing room at the University, steals the tape he was viewing and takes it to Chema. They soon discover a snuff film - a filming of an acutal murder in one take. And, Chema recognizes the girl as a young student who disappeared two years ago. Together, they set out to discover who made the film. But Angela soon discovers that Chema is not exactly who he says. Can she trust him? And just what role does the university have with this video?
A very competent thriller from Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar. The script has enough twists to keep you guessing as to who is on Angela's side and who is telling the truth. Plus, with some excellent filming, you can feel Angela's anxiety as she watches the film for the first time, with the picture contrast turned to black, only hearing the sounds.
The picture quality of this DVD is a bit grainy, but the sound quality is very good. There are some nice extras, too.
Most recent customer reviews
We should all be sad as humans that this type of movie gets made, that people praise the brutality of the images they see, and that so many people take pleasure in seeing death and... Read morePublished on March 2 2004
The fact that the snuff film industry actually exists is scary enough. This film is a chilling look at peoples obsession with money and violence. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by S. Sommerville
Thesis is one of the fastest and most thrilling movies that I've seen in years!
Angela is writing her Thesis on audivisual violence. Read more
The thing that's interesting is the word thesis. It can also mean a theme. Well, Alejandro Amenabar's theme and Angela's thesis are one and the same, examining people's morbidity... Read morePublished on Nov. 13 2002 by Daniel J. Hamlow
The picture quality seemed to be a little substandard on my DVD of Thesis, or possibly this is a faithful translation of the original material. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2002 by simon gurney
La pelicula esta de más comentarla, es excelente por donde se la vea, basta decir que es dirigida por Amenabar; pero, y aqui comienzan lo peros, la presentacion deja mucho... Read morePublished on July 16 2002 by Juan Ponce
You can tell this is Alejandro Amenábar's first film. The first half of it contains all the superb bravura filmmaking he would bring to fulfillment in his "The Others" and... Read morePublished on July 12 2002 by carol irvin
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