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Fernando González Molina
''A son will do anything to win the recognition of his mother'
Ricky, a young man who has grown up in the streets, wants to re-open the old Hiroshima Club (a brothel) with his two close friends in order that his mother, who has just been released from jail, will find a place where to work. Seems a rather simple idea, but enter writer/director Paco Cabezas and this 'comedy' becomes a rather raunchy bloodbath of poor taste saved only by the performances of a group of really talented actors!
To summarize the rather directionless story, try the following: 'Ricky (Mario Casas , a young charismatic Spanish actor who makes this story work) was abandoned at age 12 by his prostitute mother, Pura (Angela Molina). He lives the life of a street boy with help from pimp Angelito (Vicente Romero) and his junkie girl friend Scrag (Macarena Gomez); Angelito's hulking, simple-minded associate, El Niño (Luciano Caceres, another triumph of a performance); and transvestite La Infantita (Damaso Conde) who is trying to make money for a transgender surgery. Ricky is saving up to open a brothel as a gift for Pura when she gets out of jail -- a dangerous move, since they would be encroaching on the territory of tough guy El Chino (Dario Grandinetti). Ricky and Angelito (with some help from buy three Eastern European women for the club: it's suggested they're saving the girls from something worse. Sadly for Ricky, when Pura is released from jail, she's in the early stages of Alzheimer's and can't remember who he is. El Chino gives Ricky a week to raise a huge sum of payoff money for encroaching on his territory. The second half turns on his attempt to raise the cash, involving the kidnapping of Veronica (Blanca Suarez), the teenage daughter of corrupt police inspector Santos (Antonio de la Torre). There is a face-off at the end and it is surprising who survives!
Nearly all of the characters are sympathetic with Ricky, Angelito and the Kid forming an oddly appealing trio. There are many subplots - El Niño falls for a pregnant captive Irina (María Zamarbide ) who upon having her baby bonds with El Niño despite the fact that the baby is put up for sale on the black market while under the loving care of La Infantita, is an example - but in the end this is a rasty, at times funny but at other times crude and distasteful, self indulgent movie from Spain, saved (thankfully) by a super cast of actors! In Spanish with English subtitles. Grady Harp, March 12
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