Those who fall from grace can yet fall farther.

Muralla (Fernando Arze Echalar), once a celebrated Bolivian goalkeeper, now desperate to support his ailing son turns to a life of irredeemable, unthinkable crime.

There aren’t too many films that focus on human trafficking and it’s awful, real life consequences. Regretfully persistent in parts of the world, the latest from Bolivian filmmaker Rodrigo Patino dives right in.

Best of all for Echalar’s performance, there’s rare a scene where his strained visage doesn’t punctuate the already confronting proceedings with a hardened, tragic sincerity without which this film would not nearly have so resonated. One especially moving sequence in a hospital, together with his early and later decisions to travel down increasingly dark paths, are very moving for his performance imparting ever-impacting pain.

Effective moreover for the regular reminders of his once lauded past as a pro footballer, the heavy sports metaphor which pervades this feature, save a still affecting image on which the film rests, is not nearly so potent as the lead performance or any herein.

Littered with varied visual and stylistic approaches to the drama and more physically demanding sequences, traditionally staged scenes are quickly interchanged with more surrealist or point of view orientations. These moments are too followed by several likewise distinct encounters where rigs affixed to Echalar’s foreground track Muralla as he hastily ventures forth; a practice Guy Ritchie has been fond of as of late.

The styles, if conveying a distinct flare and fairly mixing it up quite a bit, never bear the consistency  or consideration evident in the lead’s reliably more grounded approach to this escalating series of events. 

Featuring a character and set of circumstances that merit exposure, the rendering as interesting as it is in parts emerged simply no way near the level of such an accomplished headliner.

Goalkeeper/Muralla screens as part of the Sydney Latin American Film Festival on Saturday September 7

on Falkenscreen