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El mal ajeno (2010)

Diego is a doctor so used to working in extreme situations that he has immunized himself to others' pain. He has switched off from his work, his partner and his commitment as a father. Over... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Diego Sanz
Juanjo (as Marcel Borrás)
Chema Ruiz ...
Martín (as Raúl Fernández)
Concha Hidalgo ...
Carmen Losa ...
María Miguel ...


Diego is a doctor so used to working in extreme situations that he has immunized himself to others' pain. He has switched off from his work, his partner and his commitment as a father. Over the course of a disturbing meeting, Diego is threatened with a gun. Hours later, he can only remember the sound of a bang and the strange feeling of having being hit with something more than a bullet. Diego has to take an irreversible decision which will affect his own life and that of his loved ones. Written by Anonymous

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A veces la realidad esconde algo extraordinario (Sometimes beneath the ordinary lies the extraordinary)


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller


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Release Date:

18 March 2010 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

For the Good of Others  »

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Technical Specs


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Not brilliant, but interesting
17 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

Director Alejandro Amenábar's name prominently exposed in the publicity of El Mal Ajeno could suggest that this is a film of a sneaky horror like The Others, or an elegant thriller like Abre los Ojos. However, I think that it is more appropriate to describe El Mal Ajeno like an interesting drama whose slight supernatural touches only work as catalysts of the drama and detonators of events which simultaneously reveal and define the main characters' nature. In other words, you do not have to expect "The Others in a hospital", but a reflexive film about medical ethic, personal responsibility and the unexpected consequences of a gift which becomes into a curse. Oh, and you do not have to expect an Amenábar's film either, because El Mal Ajeno was directed by Oskar Santos. I am afraid that this film is one of the many ones which suffered of an "IMC" (intentional marketing confusion). But anyway, I do not have to judge this movie under that condition, but under its number of pros and cons.

The premise of El Mal Ajeno is interesting, but screenwriter Daniel Sánchez Arévalo tends to loose the focus of the story due to the quantity of coincidences and forced situations he employed to impulse the story. On the other hand, he could achieve ingenious parallels and deep analogies which reveal an ambitious and well planned narrative. The problem comes when Sánchez Arévalo's tricks accumulate and the screenplay looses the equilibrium due to the weight of the sub-plots, changing the direction on various times instead of following a fluid and organic flow. Despite of that, those excessive sub-plots do not feel like filler, but as valid explorations of the main subject. Sánchez Arévalo should have maybe left them for a hypothetical sequel, or he should have maybe made his screenplay longer in order to let the sub-plots to integrate themselves better to the narrative. Anyway, I think that a simplification of subjects, characters and events would have made El Mal Ajeno more linear and accessible, without loosing the emotional impact from its premise, nor its valid moral of "be careful with what you ask for, because you might end up obtaining it".

For the positive sight, I can mention the solid performances from Eduardo Noriega, Cristina Plazas and Angie Cepeda. Belén Rueda brings a decent work, but her character belongs to the romantic interest of the story, something which in my humble opinion rose over. I would also like to mention Josu Inchaustegui's excellent cinematography, which combines the stereotypically cold palette from a hospital with warm details which emphasize the characters' humanity; all that is endorsed by a competent production design which is equally suitable for creating a credible clinical environment, without making it monotonous nor sterile. And finally, Santos' direction is solid, because he drives the movie at a good rhythm and he found the correct tone to tell the story. Pity that the screenplay looses the way in various occasions. Nevertheless, I think that there are more pros than cons in El Mal Ajeno, and despite not being a great nor highly memorable movie, I consider it to be worthy of a moderate recommendation because of its performances, good technical aspects, competent direction and its intention of leaving us thinking.

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