Intacto

Highly original film with a story that defines "good luck" as a physical - indeed, a supernatural - trait which but a select few possess. These few - sole survivors of plane crashes, earthquakes, etc. - have the ability to drain ordinary people of what little luck they have with a mere touch of the hand, thereby increasing their own luck while dooming their victims to horrible fates. Call them "vampires of fortune", if you will.

A handful of such individuals in Spain meet up regularly to use their gift the only way they know how: by gambling. High-stakes gambling. Gambling in which the stakes somehow become the people whose luck they have consumed. (I'm still a little confused by this bit.) Max von Sydow plays the nefarious ringleader, a man so lucky that he can even drain the luck from his remarkable adversaries.

As you might guess, this whole concept requires quite a willing suspension of disbelief from its audience, but the film is so self-assured that I, for one, gave into it. It's a rich story full of twists and turns, even if the conclusion does seem inevitable. Suspenseful, cold, and fascinating, Intacto is a creepy gem released at a bad time, when all the theatres are still full of big-ticket studio "prestige" films. But for fans of the unusual, it won't disappoint. And von Sydow gets my vote for Best Monologue of the Year.