|Index||5 reviews in total|
I was lucky enough to catch this film at a film festival in Miami. The
film is about Pedro Rey who preceded Pablo Escobar as Colombi's main
cocaine kingpin in the 1970's. The film is a Colombian production and
filmed on location in Cali. While the film is low budget it is very
rich in character development and story.
The film pretty much tells the story of how Pedro Rey rose from his humble beginnings to be one of the top cocaine dealers in Colombia. Along the way he befriends an American from the Peace Corps who becomes his main distribution contact in the U.S. The film exposes how the drug money Pedro Rey earns can corrupt politicians, police forces and his own family. The movie was well acted and the characters very real. The film did remind me of Brian De Palma's "Scarface" but overall it was a good production.
"El Rey" tells the story of a "cocaine king" in Colombia in a time before Pablo Escobar (from the 60s to the middle 70s). This film has a taste of truth. It doesn't try to judge and describes the times and life of Pedro "El Rey". It shows how the cocaine traffic was in agreement with Colombian society at the time with the growing American involvement in Colombia. The film describes "el Rey" starting as a bar owner paying the rent for his business establishment, trying to find outlets to grow in his activity and becoming eventually the cocaine king in Colombia. As I've already said "El Rey" (unlike many American films) doesn't pass judgement, and there are no car chases, great shootouts or many other things so dear to the American movies. There's no tear-stained moralism or preaching. "El Rey" is able to simply tell a story which shows the life of a big cocaine trafficker, his connection to the time, and his hopes, loves, and dreams. This is a film that portrays human beings with their contradictions. It entertains and is able to open ours eyes to a reality many of us know only superficially.
I saw this movie with family in south America a few years ago and it was a fairly big hit, in Latin America it got good reviews and did well, but in the United States it pretty much never made it(which happens with a lot of foreign films). To me it was like Scarface with more substance. I'm into the genre of crime films, but find myself bored by the recycled plots. This movie is made in Colombia about a real Colombia drug kingpin and its excellent. Its available on Netflix, because obviously blockbuster wouldn't carry a movie like this, and its well worth it. It is not a high budget action movie like we're use to, its more of a crime drama set in the world of drugs that has a very authentic feel to it since its all filmed on located in Cali, Colombia.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The distinction of "El Rey" is in the details of telling the story
realistically. The actual plot is a standard one for gangster movies,
although Rey is not a gangster but a businessman. In gangster movies,
what happens typically is that a man rises to head a big enterprise,
has a period of high success and high living, but then falls to a bad
end because of personal weaknesses that tie into rivals, women, drugs,
Solarzano is the king, and we see a faithful account of the period and place in Colombia when cocaine became a product in demand in America and other countries. Solarzano is a businessman who sees an opportunity and seizes it. He is able to find police who will look the other way. He is able to get the raw material through an associate, Marlon Moreno. Moreno used to be the lover of the woman that Solarzano marries, Christina Umana, and that rivalry never dies out. It burns brighter when Solarzano takes a mistress, Vanessa Simon, and neglects Moreno while she takes to cocaine.
Solarzano uses a peace corps worker (Olivier Pages) to distribute the refined product in North America. Further rivalry ensues when he attempts to cut out the middleman and find buyers himself in Mexico. Moreno also is separately competing and using Pages himself for some product. As in "Scarface" (1983), the use of drugs, the large amounts of money being made, sex appetites and success undermine the head man. Business problems arise due to bad judgments and bad management.
There are no concocted chases or violence in this movie. What there is of violence comes naturally. It's something that Solarzano finds necessary because the business is illegal. His passions are what help him build the business, and they also contribute to his fall. At first he doesn't use drugs, but he goes off eventually on cocaine and that is the main thing that brings him down.
It's very good to see such a movie coming out of Colombia, to see film making of this caliber going on there. This was evidently a difficult project. The film has a lot of energy and movement, while showing the human side of the cocaine business at its inception and before really violent people got into it and cartels formed.
The movie tells about the drug smuggling Pioneer "Pedro Rey". He was
the person who preceded Pablo Escobar as Colombia's main cocaine dealer
in the early 1970's. The movie is produced and filmed in Cali
The movie mainly tells how Pedro Rey became the most famous cocaine dealer in Colombia and how he made it possible to handle in overseas drugs dealing.
The film exposes how the drug money can corrupt politicians, police forces and his own family. The movie was well acted and the characters very real.
Personally I found it a great movie, because it had a great truth level.
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