Diamantino (Carloto Cotta) is an artist, and like many artists, not a model of stability. First is his medium of expression: Not paint or marble, but a soccer ball. He’s as gifted with a ball between his feet as Michelangelo with a brush between his fingers. But he also isn’t fully engaged with reality. As he runs up and down the field, he imagines himself alone with the goalposts… except for enormous fluffy puppies who run alongside him in puffs of pink smoke. He’s also pretty stupid.
On the day before the World Cup Final, while relaxing on his boat, Diamantino — Tino — notices a drone spying on him… operated by two lesbians, he later learns. He also helps rescue some refugees, which opens his eyes to the wider world and negatively affects his performance on the field. His sisters, twin shrews who only value Tino for his income potential, agree to sell the rights to his genes to a shadowy organization so that he can be cloned… and a new race of super soccer players built.
Diamantino is, from almost its opening frame, a wild fantasy that plays its weirdness straight, as in cult classics from the 1980s like Repo Man and The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen, or more recent throwbacks like How to Talk to Girls at Parties. It has a fairy-tale tone with a huge dollop of social satire.
Cotta has the adorable appeal of a big, dopey dog. His Tino is open-hearted, both asexual and pansexual, friendly and driven… and a conundrum for the scheming outsiders (his clownishly venal sisters, the lesbian spies, a medical cabal) who can’t believe he’s for real. It’s a queerish take on Being There or Forest Gump and just as charming.
— Arnold Wayne Jones
Screens April 16 and April 17 at 10:15 p.m. at the Magnolia. For more information, visit DallasFilm.com.