El hombre de las mil caras (Smoke & Mirrors) in ‘Variety’

It may only represent the film’s Spanish distribution route, but there’s something entirely apt-feeling about the familiar Warner Bros. badge at the front of Alberto Rodriguez’s “Smoke and Mirrors”: This slick-as-Brylcreem political thriller may deal entirely in local affairs, but every gleaming nut and bolt of its assembly advertises its helmer’s suitability for U.S. studio fare. Following up his internationally acclaimed regional noir “Marshland” with a larger-scale study of institutional corruption, Rodriguez’s seventh feature proficiently borrows moves from Scorsese, Sorrentino and a surfeit of other stylists to tell the fact-inspired story of sometime spy Francisco Paesa, whose mid-1990s involvement in a former police chief’s embezzlement operation left no line un-double-crossed. A good yarn that nonetheless takes a while to disentangle itself from an overly convoluted setup, “Smoke and Mirrors” is possibly not as universally exportable as the directorial verve it showcases, but it’ll clean up domestically.

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