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Gian Maria Volontè,
In Madrid, a petty thief who cannot adjust to life outside of jail puts together a theater troupe her friends -- a prostitute, a gypsy, and a Colombian immigrant -- in an attempt to make a go at a relatively straight life.
"El menor de los males" is a mix of Spanish/black humor comedy, familial drama, thriller, and social and political commentary, and it is very fitting for the current political situation that is sadly common in Spain and, I believe, in all the Western world. It clearly shows the view that the common people have of politicians and people of power, and to do so, the director chooses a genre that is very dear and typical of the Spanish spirit and way-of-being: the realistic satire, with lots of dark humor, irony, sarcasm, and comedy that goes sour just like that, but all with a clear purpose in mind.
The movie starts almost like a comedy, and in fact contains quite a few light-hearted and overtly funny situations along the way. It is set in Julia's house -she's a good-natured woman, in her 50s, and a writer. She suddenly gets visited by Eduardo, her younger brother, an up-and-coming and very ambitious politician in Madrid, with his assistant and his two bodyguards. He tells her that he needs her house because he's going to have a "meeting" with his lover, a very young actress. Julia immediately notices that there's something strange going on, something that goes beyond the secrecy of an adulterous affair, and she will soon enough get involved in a web of lies, betrayal, and dark affairs.
"El menor de los males" is a movie that is best seen and understood nowadays -but it will probably not get outdated in a few years either. It is a little slow at the start, but it picks up speed, and the denouement is quite well resolved -although there's something quite crucial about it that I didn't like, more precisely one of the characters doing something out-of-character which, in my opinion, makes the whole ending a little unbelievable. However, this is a problem which I will gladly overlook, because I think this is an overall good movie, and a certainly nice surprise for those of us who keep expecting something better from the Spanish movie industry than the usual load of careless and completely unnecessary films that pesters our movie theaters and video stores.
My score is 8/10.
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