Pikadero isn’t a bad movie. It’s just not a very good one. And it also seems to be a bit confused as to what it actually wants to be.

Take the central premise, where the title of the film comes from. A pikadero is, apparently, a public place used for sexual encounters. And this is what Gorka, played by Joseba Usabiaga, and Ane, played by Barbara Goenaga, are seeking. They are meeting up again, after having grown close to one another on a recent night out, and understandably want some private time. But privacy keeps eluding them. If you’re thinking that this sounds like a fairly amusing premise then you’re right. For the first fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, this is repeated a number of times, in between scenes of the two discussing their lives and plans for the future, and it stops being played for obvious laughs after the opening third act.

Correction – it’s perhaps still played for some laughs throughout, but the comedy is ineffective, especially as other elements start to come to the foreground of the film.

Usabiaga and Goenaga do well with their roles, and it’s easy to root for them as circumstances conspire against them. But no performance would be good enough to overcome the lethargic, dispassionate script from Ben Sharrock, who also directed the movie. He has a point to make, maybe even more than one, but he doesn’t seem to remember what they are until certain clumsy moments that feel shoehorned into the rest of the film.

Lander Otaola and Zorion Eguileor also deserve a mention, playing Gorka’s best friend and his grandfather, respectively, and showing some alternatives to the path that he seems to be set on for life. It’s just a shame that we don’t have any more people populating Ane’s world. She only exists whenever she comes to meet Gorka, which admittedly may have been a very deliberate move by Sharrock, but seeing a view of how she became who she was, and how she somehow fell for someone who seems so much like her exact opposite, would have probably made things a bit more interesting.

Being charitable, Pikadero is a film full of good intentions. But we all know that good intentions are the paving stones en route to hell. While this isn’t a hellish viewing experience, it’s also far from a great one.

WRITER/DIRECTOR: BEN SHARROCK
STARS: JOSEBA USABIAGA, BARBARA GOENAGA, LANDER OTAOLA, ZORION EGUILEOR, ITZIAR LAZKANO, PEIO ARNAEZ
RUNTIME: 97 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: UK/SPAIN

Film Rating: ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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