My Time Will Come (sometimes translated as When My Time Comes) is a 2006 Ecuadorian movie that absolutely hit that sweet spot of dark and bleak while catching you in the action. Even the first few scenes, which have almost no dialogue, take you on an absolute ride of who the characters are and their relationships.
The movie centres on Arturo, a doctor in a hospital morgue, struggling with his own isolation from his family, loneliness, and trauma. The different people he autopsies have their own storylines, intersecting with each other in their last hours alive – an unsuspecting migrant shot while roped into a crime, the victim of that crime, the woman’ lover murdered by her husband, while the woman is upstairs in the hospital at her injured son’s bedside. It hits home for Arturo when he performs an autopsy on a young man who turns out to be his own brother’s secret boyfriend – leading to intergenerational family conflict and reinforcing the isolation and trauma stalking the characters.
It’s a brilliantly done movie. It’s one of the few films I’ve seen that really hits on the fact that there are no “background characters” in real life – everyone is just as fully human and complicated, with their own histories, motivations, and goals. It also is a brutal criticism of the violence, corruption, and disconnection of Quito at the time, and is underpinned by the reality that death is often sudden, pointless, and leaves gaping holes in the lives of the bereaved.
The whole film is up on Youtube with English subtitles.