A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Boi is a 2019 Spanish mystery-thriller in which a chauffeur tries to figure out his life and the strange behaviors of a pair of Chinese clients. There's consistent profanity throughout, including "f--k" used several times. A racist bellboy refers to Asian passengers as "Orientals." Characters smoke cigarettes; marijuana smoking in one scene. Brief violence, including a scene in which the bad guys assault one of the lead characters by firing a butane torch across his groin region (filmed from behind), and a scene in which a dog is left in a car that's set on fire and explodes. References to strip clubs and being horny. The film's slow pace and content makes it best for mature teens and older.
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What's the story?
BOI Salt is in his late twenties, living in Barcelona with a mentally ill aunt. He has just broken up with his girlfriend, who is three months pregnant, and he already wants her back. The manuscript of his novel has been rejected once again by a publisher. As he tries to come to grips with his personal life, he starts a new job as a chauffeur for visiting VIPs. His first two clients are visiting from China, an immature young adult named Michael, and a dour older adult named Gordon. As Boi struggles with punctuality, much to the chagrin of Gordon, he begins to become more and more interested in the mysterious actions of his two passengers. In search of inspiration and perhaps some perspective on his personal life, Boi starts to become a willing accomplice in Gordon and Michael's search for the mysterious Simon Albatross, who must be found within 24 hours. The adventure leads Boi on a vehicle chase, shady deals, and amateur surveillance in a jazz club. When things take a dangerous turn, Boi must find a way to extricate Gordon and Michael from what has become a horrible situation.
Is it any good?
Boi is an ambitious mystery-thriller that doesn't quite fulfill everything it's trying to do. Centered on a struggling writer at a crossroads as he tries to figure out what he wants out of life, Boi careens from dark thriller to magical realism, from coming-of-age portrait to cultural and personal disconnect, but never really makes any of them completely work, and never stays in one lane long enough to maintain a sustained interest beyond the hope that Boi someday finds success in love and in writing.
It's not a bad movie, but it does get bogged down by trying to do so much at once. Rather than enhancing the central story (or at least the most central story), the "weird" moments -- dream realities, shaky sped-up montages of driving through Barcelona, bizarre coffee commercials -- distract from what is already quite a bit for our lead character. There's nothing wrong with playing with the expectations of forms and genres, but when the play overwhelms everything else, the lack of focus starts to wear on one's nerves.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about "mystery-thriller" movies. What are some aspects to mystery-thriller movies, and how does this compare to other movies in this genre?
What are some other genres that the movie seems to employ?
How does the movie use music to heighten moments of tension?
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