No Date, No Signature Review – A Disappointing Entry For Spanish Thrillers

Child death, Violence, Grief, Fighting.

No Date, No Signature has to be one of the most boring films I have ever seen, which puts me at odds with most of the critics and audience reviews of this film, who highly praise this film. I believe I found it when looking for a thriller that was similar to the Spanish film The Body. But unlike The Body which I loved, I was greatly disappointed by this film.

No Date, No Signature starts off with a car accident between a forensic pathologist and a family on a motorcycle. The doctor ends up injuring the family’s 8-year-old son. He offers to take the family to a nearby clinic to get the child checked out, but the father refuses his help and money. The next morning, in the hospital he works, the doctor finds out that the child he injured has died. The child is scheduled for an autopsy as his death was unexpected and suspicious. The doctor feels responsible for this tragedy, his guilt driving him to find out the truth. Was he the cause of this child’s death or is it as his colleague concluded that the child died from food poisoning?

Basically, it is concluded that the child died from botulism, and the case is settled. But the doctor cannot let it go. He saw they never checked the neck which could exonerate his responsibility for the death. On the family side, the father is blamed by his wife for giving the child poor quality food. The family is poor, so this means that they have to take whatever they can get. The father concludes that the factory where he got the chicken is the place to blame. His grief drives him to confront the man who sold him the food. But he goes too far, and ends up in trouble with the police.

I found the doctor to be quite boring in his portrayal. Though he is meant to be showing some guilt, I just did not see those emotions coming from him. I found him to be selfish, putting his feelings onto the family who already had enough issues to absolve him. It is as if he is waiting for any excuse to absolve him of any guilt. But the father in No Date, No Signature does put in a good performance as the grieving father. His emotions are so raw that you can really believe it. Which is the better part of this film, however it did not make up for the rest of it.

The pace in No Date, No Signature is slower than slow. I was hoping it was building to some climax but no. This film is a drama but in no way is it a mystery or a thriller at all. And maybe that is why I was so disappointed by it, but I’ve watched my fair share of dramas and this one was not engaging enough. Maybe it is because regardless of how the child died, he was going to die anyway. And also nothing of any note really happens in the film. They circle the drain, talking about the same issues over and over again, that I’m not sure if the filmmakers keep what the purpose of No Date, No Signature was.

There is a lot of talk about guilt throughout No Date, No Signature but it doesn’t seem to progress the plot or character development in any way that I could see. I just don’t understand what their point was, as they never seem to make any. Maybe the ending would have offered something to make the journey worth it but I had already felt like my time was wasted and could not bear to watch another 30 minutes of nothing happening.

In short, I do not recommend No Date, No Signature.

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