Death, it is inevitable. But, what would you do if a loved one was murdered for no reason? If you could find the person who murdered them, would you confront them and seek revenge? For many, revenge seems like the best answer but for the main character in The Guilt (La Culpa) revenge isn’t as sweet as it seems.
The Guilt (La Culpa), a Spanish short film directed by David Victori, follows the story of man who is seeking revenge after the murder of his pregnant wife. But, he eventually realizes his desire to avenge his wife’s death won’t bring him the closure he so desperately wants and needs.
Starting with a spiral staircase, this film’s opening scene alludes to the event that causes the main character to change his mind about wanting revenge. But before this event occurs, the staircase serves as a minor obstacle he has to face to reach his ultimate destination which is the apartment of the man who killed his wife. When he enters the apartment, he finds the murderer and doesn’t hesitant to take his revenge. Unfortunately, someone walks in the room and witnesses what he has done. Startled and filled with regret, the main character runs down the spiral staircase to exit the apartment building but can’t seem to leave. The murderer lived on the fifth floor and every time the main character runs down the stairs to escape, he remains on that floor. The spiral staircase goes from being a random detail to representing what happens when we try to run away from the consequences of our actions.
Every choice we make has either a positive or negative outcome on our life. When we are faced with the negative consequences, our first reaction is to run away from them. But when we suppress our emotions and refuse to face the truth, we slowly spiral out of control and lose a bit of ourselves. As the main character is running repeatedly down the stairs and trying to avoid the person who witnessed what he has done, his reality becomes distorted as his mind continually punishes him for his crime. This scene is imperative because it shows the audience how our guilt can destroy us if we don’t face it. But, it also shows why having a guilty conscience can be a gift in disguise. When the main character finally comes to terms with the consequences of his possible actions, he is able to approach the situation in a different way.
Instead of seeking revenge, the main character is able to walk away with no regrets. His journey of self-reflection gives the audience some insight on why he was so determined to seek revenge. Before the murder, he and his wife were discussing going on a trip when she revealed she was pregnant. Filled with joy and excitement, he couldn’t wait to tell a friend but shortly after receiving the pregnancy news his wife was murdered. In a matter of his minutes, his happiness was stolen from him. Seeing him in agony as he finds his wife, shows the audience why revenge was all he could think about. You understand why he wants to afflict pain on the murderer. It’s easy to sympathize with him because the same thoughts might appear in our minds if someone close to us was murdered. But, we can also relate to his decision to walk away from the situation in the end. Revenge couldn’t bring his wife back and sometimes it’s best to walk away from a situation before you make it worse.
The Guilt (La Culpa), which was the winner of Your Film Festival in 2012, is an enthralling thriller that reminds us how easily we can spiral out of control because of our thirst for revenge.