Monday 24 April 2017

Spanish Film Festival (4) - Barrie Pattison on quality crime movie TARDE PARA LA IRA/FURY OF A PATIENT MAN

So far so beaut as the Spanish Film Festival rolls on - a striking contrast to the challenge-free French product that preceded it.

The one advantage of being force-fed a year's worth of Spanish movies in one go is that we start to recognise the talent in depth that is producing them. Raúl Arévalo has interesting actor credits (Cien años de perdón, Balada triste de trompeta, Marshland) and his first film as writer-director Tarde para la ira/Fury of a Patient Man is remarkable, a grubby, super tough ‘scope crime and punishment piece set in the Madrid barrios.

It kicks off with a Gun Crazy reminiscent one take jewellery store robbery, camera behind the getaway driver, which ends with a startling crash.

Not showing the connection, we get to Antonio de la Torre (Volver, Night Manager) in the hospital with a comatose patient and in Raúl Jiménez small bar, a long way distant from de la Torre's comfortable home. This is a world of the men playing cards, first communion parties and the proprietor's waitress sister Ruth Diaz, with a son out of her conjugal jail visits with Luis Callejo (Mi gran noche, Cien años de perdón).

When the hard man comes out it doesn’t look good for her and de la Torre who are getting it on and exchanging intimate text messages.

The power relationship between the two men reverses as we discover that de la Torre, with a shot gun in his car boot, is not what he seems.

Callejo who feels he was let down by the escaped robbers starts seeking out his fellow heist men, cheery Manolo Solo and his reformed associate now scraping a living from a small farm and about to become a father. The man’s happy wife invites them to lunch.

We get screw driver stabbings, the menacing barrio gym, a victim on his knees begging for his life and Callejo, who has snuck a hotel steak knife into his shoe, locked in the car boot while Diaz, waiting in De la Torre’s flat, runs his family videos. We expect she will find the brutal black and white robbery footage where a girl is pounded to death but her discovery is another twist in the film's unpredictable plot line.

This is jolting stuff negotiating a path between reality and crime movie in a way we haven't seen before. Ugly grainy and desaturated filming works for the film. We can’t see who the getaway driver is and the violent material is more plausible. Like most of these, Tarde par la ira and deserves wider distribution than it's likely to get. It develops an iron grip on our attention.

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