IMDb > For the Good of Others (2010) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb

Reviews & Ratings for
For the Good of Others More at IMDbPro »El mal ajeno (original title)

Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Index 7 reviews in total 

13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Not brilliant, but interesting

Author: Argemaluco from Argentina
17 July 2011

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.

Was the above review useful to you?

12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Interesting story even without the "magical" ingredient.

Author: David Traversa from Argentina
12 May 2011

When The Exorcist was premiered it seems that its impact on believers was so great that people in the audience fainted, run out of the theater screaming, there were ambulances outside to take care of the sick, etc.

This movie doesn't go that far of course, but I imagine that what they call "sensitive audiences" for rating purposes would view this film with awesome respect for what is going on within the story.

I don't believe in anything so, my point of view lets me see this movie from a "naturalistic" perspective, no supernatural phenomena for me.

I rented this movie because I thought Alejandro Amenabar was its director, he isn't, he was one of the producers, but even so, the technical part (photography, color, editing, sound, music, etc.) is absolutely perfect, silky the pacing, a pleasure to the eye and to the ear and the discovery of a new promising name in directing.

The acting impeccable, and good entertainment too. Not bad for the price of a rental fee.

Was the above review useful to you?

15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

What Would Eduardo Do?

Author: KnatLouie from Copenhagen, Denmark
6 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In this Spanish hospital-drama, Eduardo Noriega (Abre los ojos/Transsiberian) plays the main character, Diego, a doctor who has lost his passion for his work, and does not want to get too personal with any of his patients anymore. But one day, a pregnant woman tries to commit suicide, and is submitted to his care at the hospital. Her boyfriend is upset at the way Diego treats their case, and apparently tries to kill him, but instead of dying, Diego gets an incredible ability to heal people simply by touching them. However, Diego does not want this gift, and soon finds out that there is a much darker side to the ability, which makes his Jesus-like ability even less desirable, and he tries to get rid of it again.

The film is a careful reminder that we should all treasure what we have, as we never know when it will be gone for good. The acting and directing is brilliant, and leaves us with a very touching and emotional movie, which will be remembered long after seeing the film for the first time.

Was the above review useful to you?

8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:


Author: kosmasp
26 December 2010

This movie has one great premise and it deals very good with it. It is a movie that builds up slow, but does have a punch behind it. Since I hadn't read the outline (summary line or whatever you want to call it) of the movie, as always, I didn't know what to expect other than I was expecting a drama (and that was just a guess because of the name of the movie).

Boy was I in for a surprise. Slow it might be and therefor something that quite a few people might not appreciate/love/can deal with. But if you let the movie sink in and let it have an effect on you, you will be able to see quite a bit. Still it's not flawless and might have done with a tighter script. But all in all its a good movie with a concept that might be able to make you think even after the movie is over (though I do think it might work better as a novel)

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

General hospital

Author: jotix100 from New York
15 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Dr. Diego Sanz is a doctor working at a large Spanish hospital. He specializes in pain management. This man has seen so much suffering around him that, in a way, he has become insensitive about the world around him. His own life is a mess. He is in a loveless marriage to Pilar, a nurse. They have a grown daughter, Ainhoa who is experiencing on her own flesh all the unhappiness around her.

After an attempt of suicide by Sara, one of his patients, Diego's life begins to unravel. The boyfriend of the woman shoots the doctor in the parking lot, something that will make Diego experience something of what the people in his care have to deal on a daily basis.

This is the first film of Oskar Santos, a protégé of Alejandro Almenabar. The problem with this film lies in the screenplay by Daniel Sanchez Arevalo that experiments with a mixture of styles that does not help the film achieve its noble intentions. On the other hand, credit must go to Mr. Santos for the performances from his cast, especially Eduardo Noriega, who brings a maturity not seldom found in the Spanish cinema. Unfortunately, some of the other cast members do not fare as well because of the way their characters have been written.

Another strong asset in the film is the crisp cinematography by Yosu Inchaustegui, who shows intelligence and style behind the camera.

Was the above review useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Laying On Of Hands.

Author: Robert J. Maxwell ( from Deming, New Mexico, USA
3 August 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The direction is nearly flawless, the photography impressive, the acting professional, and the musical score consists of subdued strings -- no heavenly choirs or triumphant fanfares when a patient's life is unexpectedly saved. So why does it all seem unfocused? Diego is a doctor in a hospital in Spain. He's supposed to have lost compassion for those of his patients who are in pain, although I didn't see him as any more or less bored than any other doc.

At any rate, a man rushes his pregnant and dying girl friend into the hospital. Diego tells him that it's unlikely that either the girl or the baby will survive. The man pulls a gun and plugs Diego, before touching Diego's hands, then he eats his own pistola.

The man is dead and Diego severely wounded. They hurry Diego to his own hospital and try to stabilize him. There is a confusing shot of Diego lying on the gurney with his eyes staring at the camera and a sheet is pulled over his head, suggesting Diego has given up the ghost. But evidently he hasn't. What, then, did the hand of the potter shake? Diego recovers and thereafter things get a little weird. Diego resumes his duties and those of his patients who are on their way out begin to remit. However, Diego himself loses a family member he loves. And then, as the other patients do well, his daughter contracts an unnamed disease that looks like AIDS. And his wife develops something that sounds like leukemia.

Diego appears to reach the same conclusion I did. He can heal magically with his hands -- an ability possibly passed on to him by the suicide -- but in doing so he must lose someone he loves. Quid pro quo.

I filled that summary with conditionals -- "appears to", "evidently," and so on -- for a reason. The reason is that I wasn't at all sure I had a handle on what was going on. I don't know what the hell that drunken blond was doing in there. It's not exactly laid out in schematic fashion. It was disturbing enough that for a moment I thought I was stroking out myself.

The lack of focus and clarity aside, it's a good movie -- a hospital drama with supernatural overtones. In America we pride ourselves on having a superlative medical system, and we do, but in Spain the hospitals look just like American hospitals. The staff know what they're doing, expensive CAT scans are readily available, the docs are just as condescending, the nurses equally officious, and the appointments -- the rooms, the appliances, the floors, the scrubs -- are all properly Listerian. If there's a difference between ethos and eidos in American and Spanish hospitals, you'd never knew it from this movie.

I won't describe the ending, partly because it involves an heroic act of self sacrifice and partly because I'm not sure what happens.

Was the above review useful to you?

The pain scale has no top or bottom.

Author: dbdumonteil
17 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Eduardo Noriega is certainly one of the best contemporary European actors;he shines in this movie and mesmerizes you in a way few actors can do ;Producer Amenabar had cast him in " Tesis" and "Abre Los Ojos " ,two major works ,and Noriega even appears on the photographs in "The others/Los Ostros"

"El Mal Ajeno " lacks perhaps Amenabar's rigor and the first scenes with the doctor's daughter's are a bit heavy-handed today;but the rest is,if a little confusing,interesting from start to finish .

The subject of the healer has already been treated ,but never before as in this work,without a hint at religion or magic .And if there is something vaguely "religious" ,it deals with the old testament :"eye for an eye ,tooth for a tooth" ...."a life for a life" .That might explain why we see the doctor dead for a few seconds .The story of the little sister run over and the affair which follows it borrows from old melodramas,but brings it all back home .

And if the ending makes sense ,if you pay attention to details:

-The young doctor shows Noriega his daughter's blood test :"leukemia" he says; but the father ,against all odds ,comments :"it's nothing!"

-The injection

-Sara,near the patient's bed,smiles sweetly to Pilar ,and her face reflects kindness and she holds the girl's hand.

As an user cleverly pointed out,all comments should be written in the conditional tense;but even if some elements elude us,emotion survives.

Was the above review useful to you?

Add another review

Related Links

Plot summary Ratings Awards
External reviews Official site Main details
Your user reviews Your vote history