Connections are elusive in the dreamy Cabo drama 'El Ganzo'

A voyage south of the border is a truly strange trip in Steve Balderson’s “El Ganzo.” His stars, Anslem Richardson and Susan Traylor, take co-writing credits in this tale of two wandering souls who cross paths at the hotel El Ganzo in Cabo San Lucas. Lizzy (Traylor), endures a fender bender en route to the resort that sets a disoriented tone for her arrival, and her confusion persists into her interactions with photographer Guy (Richardson) and hotel concierge Billy (Mark Booker).

Claiming to be a travel writer, Lizzy approaches Guy and somehow the two develop an easy intimacy as they explore Mexico, despite Lizzy’s bizarre behavior and Guy’s relationship problems with a jealous boyfriend at home. Though Lizzy claims “I’m not weird,” her actions and interactions indicate otherwise.

There’s a stuttering, overlapping style in the editing that adds to the disorienting and hazy nature of the film, as we enter into this intimate, inherently fleeting relationship. Long shots that contemplate the landscape and this couple in it find a kind of introspection, even as the characters remain elusive.

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For all the precision in editing, Balderson lets his actors drift in a loosely driven plot that doesn’t have much more going on than a will-they-or-won’t-they confusion about Guy and Lizzy’s physical relationship, and whether Billy will track down Lizzy’s misplaced suitcase. “El Ganzo” is an aesthetically lovely portrait of a place, but its story about two dreamers colliding on their respective journeys proves murky at best.


‘El Ganzo’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood

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