Dir: Patxi Amezcua
Star: Isak Férriz, Iria del Río, Antonio Buíl, José Manuel Poga
I suspect I might have liked this a bit more, had we not watched Se7en a couple of weeks ago. For the debt owed by this, is rather too obvious for such a narrow gap in time. In both we have a pair of cops – one old, one young – investigating a series of religion-inspired crimes, unfolding over about a week. This takes place against a hellish urban backdrop, where it appears always to be raining, and there’s a perpetually smoggy filter to life. It’s certainly not identical; we’ll get to that in a bit. However, it’s a comparison which the film could have done better without, for example, because Férriz is not Morgan Freeman.
This unfolds as COVID-19 is spreading across Spain, causing the country to go into lock down. The outbreak impacts both Inspector Samuel Garcia (Férriz) and his deputy, Marta Castro (del Río) in different ways. The former is unable to see his aged mother in her care home, the latter has a boyfriend who tests positive, and has to isolate himself in their home. At work, they’re working on the case of a young woman who re-appeared three months after being abducted, in a remote mining town in the Asturian mountains. Their investigation concludes three men were involved. One kills himself; another, going by the name of Demon (Poga), is arrested; but the third, known only as “The Prophet”, is still out there, and is plotting further mayhem. With little help available due to the lockdown, it’s up to Garcia and Castro to stop him.
There are some quite good individual scenes here, the problem is they never accumulate into anything that’s particularly interesting. For instance, the Prophet is set up as being this near-divine superpower, not least by Demon’s energetic selling of his colleague. Yet when we find out who it is (and let the record show, Chris got there before the plot did), your reaction may well be, “That’s it?” He’s hardly John Doe or Keyzer Soze. The same is true with the COVID-19 situation, which feels like it’s being set up to be considerably more important than it ends up being.
Sure, there’s some personal tragedy resulting from it, and one of those good scenes mentioned stems from this, with Garcia having to pull himself together from the depths of despair, and get back to work. However, I’d be hard pushed to say it adds much to the movie on the larger level. Yeah, we all wondered for a bit if the world was going to fall apart. Then it didn’t. Except, in line with the Se7en influence, it does for one of our central characters, albeit not for particularly coronavirus reasons. However, the net result isn’t very different. They’re sent off the rails and pushed outside the law as a result, and their life gets wrecked in consequence. At least there’s not a box with a severed head in it, I guess.