Decadencia is an interesting movie that deals with some important themes and asks some big questions. The movie is set in Mexico and follows the relationship between Anabel, a good Catholic girl, and Oskar, a rich and decadent playboy, as Anabel gets sucked further and further into Oskar’s fantasy life with ultimately disastrous consequences.
The first theme, for me, is the role of chance in our lives. Anabel and Oskar initially meet when Anabel, distracted, walks into the path of Oskar’s car and is nearly run over. Without that chance, the pair would never have been in each other’s lives, but it takes more than chance. There must also be some predisposition to turn that chance encounter into something else. For Oskar, it’s a chance to add another pretty girl to his conquests, and he quickly tracks her down and asks her out. For Anabel, stuck in a dead end gig economy job and encouraged by her friend, it’s a chance to escape and live a more exciting life.
How do we judge each of the players? Oskar has everything. He’s young, rich and good-looking. Rather than make any attempt to use what he’s got to improve himself or make a contribution, he lives an empty fantasy life addicted to sex. What is a good life? We can all make choices within the limits we’re placed in, but when wealth, looks and doubtless connections make those choices virtually limitless should we expect more? When chance brings Anabel into his path, he uses his wealth and glamour (helped along by some drugs slipped into her drinks) to seduce her into being a part of his fantasies. Games and fantasies are necessary to keep relationships alive, her tells her. He buys her designer shoes and a car, and impresses her with his appreciation for architecture and the luxury of his beachside apartment.
Is Anabel a completely innocent victim here though? How far do we let the opportunity for wealth and glamour corrupt us? Anabel starts off a good Catholic girl, resistant to taking a drink of the rum she promotes for fear of being fired. She is clearly prepared, though, to take advantage of the luxurious lifestyle Oskar offers, and she plays along, however unwillingly, with some of his fantasies. Is it because she loves him, or does she love the lifestyle, prestige and presents he gives her? How different is she from the prostitutes he and his friends surround themselves with? There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Our verdict: An interesting and glamorous movie that explores some important themes – 7/10.