The X that marks the one spot of audience interest in writer-director Matthew Parkhill’s feature film debut dot the i is Gael García Bernal in his first starring role in an English-language movie: Minus the novelty of observing what happens when the sweet-faced Mexican hunklet gambles a handful of indie cred on a project built to Slamdance (not even Sundance) proportions, this perilously overdesigned, speck-size romantic thriller would collapse of its own labored let’s-make- a-festival-film trickiness. Come to think of it, even with Bernal as headliner, dot the i leaves too many t’s double-crossed.
Bernal plays Kit, a Brazilian aspiring actor in London who meets Carmen (Natalia Verbeke, with a Brittany Murphy look) at exactly the wrong time: The impulsive Spanish girl is celebrating her engagement to her dull British beau, Barnaby (Master and Commander’s James D’Arcy), at an all-girl ”hen party” in a French restaurant when the farewell-to-freedom kiss she bestows on Kit turns into a real smooch. Sparks fly, jealousies are aroused, that sort of high-temperature thing — all of it documented on videotape through subterfuge only explainable at the end of the increasingly unreliable plot.
The movie is in love with its own story loops and fancy, pop-dream cinematography from Almodóvar associate Affonso Beato, which is fine; it’s also in love with its own indie-culture cleverness, which isn’t.