Interesting Spanish thriller clearly influenced by Nordic TV drama
- Marshland review by PV
An interesting Spanish thriller which has clearly been influenced by Nordic TV drama. Lots of landscape and moods - and very unSpanish in its feel in many ways.
Basically, it's the old plot: the hunt for a serial killer. This is complicated by various issues - not least of which is the uneasy relationshio between one Spanish police officer and his new partner who may or may not have been a member of Franco's gestapo.
Visually interesting, with a side to an unknown corner of Spain explored on screen, this is a good thriller but perhaps more interesting in its depiction of Spain and its analysis of Spain's troubled civil war history.
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud...
- Marshland review by Count Otto Black
I'm afraid I didn't enjoy this relentlessly downbeat movie as much as some people did. Spain is a large country stretching from France almost to Africa, so it has pretty much every kind of scenery you can think of. But I've never seen this part of Spain in a film before, probably because it's the part least worth pointing a camera at. Mudflats as far as the eye can see, with only the occasional ramshackle house to relieve the monotony. The sodden tedium of their environment seems to have affected the minds of the locals, causing most of them to sink into a dull apathetic stupor. In most movies set in isolated communities with a guilty secret, such as "The Wicker Man" or "Bad Day At Black Rock", there's an extremely compelling reason why nobody will talk to outsiders. But this lot simply couldn't be bothered telling the police that their daughters kept vanishing until two girls disappeared at once!
Another odd thing about the film is that much of the plot almost seems to happen backwards. "The Silence Of The Lambs" involved a serial killer whose identity and bizarre motive we knew long before the FBI did, and a kidnapped woman whose impending fate we were constantly reminded of. In this movie, the killer appears so late in the film that he's a complete nonentity whose only character trait (apart from the obvious) is that he wears a hat, and the race against time to save an abducted girl is introduced so late on, and so perfunctorily, that I actually forgot about her and wondered why the heroes were too stupid to wait for back-up. Strangest of all is the sub-plot about the older of the two detectives maybe having done things for the recently abolished fascist dictatorship that his idealistic young colleague doesn't approve of at all. This literally happens backwards! Instead of causing tension between them at the start which has to be resolved if they're going to work together, this is another thing that's only mentioned very late in the movie, so the tension suddenly appears and then increases as the end approaches, by which time it doesn't matter.
The two leads are quite good, but their characters are the stereotypes we've seen in practically every other film about two detectives in a mismatched partnership. Almost everybody else is a cardboard cutout, and most of them care so little about anything that I didn't care about them either. And in a medium as visual as film, it helps if the environment in which the entire movie takes place isn't boring to look at. In this era of relentlessly identical production-line blockbusters, you can't fault a film for trying to be different, but I'd have preferred this one to look less drab and feel less wearily fatalistic. I'd give it two and a half stars if that was possible because that's how much I liked it, but I'll go up to three because I'd feel mean giving it only two when it tried so hard.
1 out of 3 members found this review helpful.