Set in Galicia in northwest Spain - an area famed for its beauty and smuggling - this film shows a once-thriving fishing and shipbuilding culture fallen on hard times. Feisty, street smart ...
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Álex de la Iglesia
Set in Galicia in northwest Spain - an area famed for its beauty and smuggling - this film shows a once-thriving fishing and shipbuilding culture fallen on hard times. Feisty, street smart Lena, 18, lives in semi-penury with her hard-drinking slob of a father, Gorrión, and hopes to escape by getting a grant to study in Portugal. Gorrion is mixed up with local drug-smuggling mafiosi, that includes Lena's godfather, Gitano, their Portugese Cachero, and the strong, silent Milio. One day, Lena returns from her job to find Gorrion badly beaten up: The gang had accused him of stealing. Lena visits the gangsters and offers to help pay off her father's debt by working for them. After Gorrion forgets to deliver Lena's grant papers, a fragile emotional bond develops between Lena and Milio. When they set off to Portugal to do a job, events start to ramble.Written by
A rather worrying situation, precisely because such is more than likely in innumerable large cities all over the place. In this case in Vigo, a city of about half a million inhabitants in Galicia, in the extreme north west of Spain. The city has had with other nearby places a long history associated with smuggling. In recent times cigarettes and alcohol, and, far more menacing, drugs. It is just a hop across the Atlantic from Colombia, and Vigo is the perfect gateway to Europe. Thus, in recent times, anti-drug police catch hauls in tons at one go, aboard ancient merchant vessels which have changed hands, flag of convenience and name about as frequently as you and I change our socks.
Lena's father, known as `Gorrión' (`Sparrow'), a waster if ever there was one, has got entangled in smuggling circles and is in a rather negative position; Lena, a teenager played by a somewhat over-age Marta Larralde, who, at twentyish just cannot go prancing about Vigo's neighbourhoods in skimpy fifteen-year-old clothing without turning a lot of eyes in her direction, has to lose out on her student grant so as to help her father out of his troubles, and she does so getting right in there with the traffickers; she ends up being a `camel' driven around in a plush Mercedes.
So a classical thriller setting, almost in the `noir' category, played out fairly well by Miss Larralde in her first ever film, and backed up by some more or less convincing thug-types of the underworld, and a stupendous casting of Lena's father Manuel Manquiña.
An entertaining 90-odd minutes without purporting to be anything greater, so passable.
Some students of Spanish may have a little difficulty at times with understanding the dialogues and will have to fall back on the subtitles.
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