A provocative, almost post-apocalyptic drama is a fairly unique, ultimately stinging Chilean import that has a grainy, sepia visual palette (kudos to lenser Sergio Armstrong) to it in capturing the 1973 overthrow of Allende. One with more than its share of long takes that provides some effective unsettling impact.
Pablo Larrain's deliberately paced Post Mortem (fully subtitled) stars Alfred Castro, Amparo Noguera, and Antonia Zegers with the former doing interesting work as Santiago morgue employee Mario Cornejo. Mario keeps a record of the autopsies done by his superior Dr. Castillo (Jamie Vadell) with his assistant Sandra (Noguera)
During the increasing tumult and brutality (kept mostly off-screen for dramatic effect) which obviously has taken its toll on Mario who has been drawn outside of his line of work to exotic dancer neighbor Nancy (Zegers). He's fearful about Nancy's possible appearance among the growing carnal deposit of cadavers in the mortuary which lends a feel of the undead to the proceedings. Because of her leanness she has been let go from the "Bim Bam Bum Club."
Larrain lends a palpable sense of discombobulation and disbelief through Mario who is able to turn his inscrutable expression on a dime as the violence and oppression filled with gunfire lurks nearby. A nerve is also hit like some surreal blunt trauma when it comes to barely noticed people reappearing or an unexpected flight of fancy within a series of hellish, if potent passages.
The unmannered, if vacuous way Castro sashays through the part is key in delivering an atmospheric, period drama in offering what could be viewed as a posthumous portal. It impresses in union with high-quality, moody sound and production design capped with an uncomfortably sharp conclusion. For some aficionados, clearly actor and director have a solid rapport in the way an onlooker through their presentation of arguably difficult material that sympathetically cries out for their professional relationship to deepen.