Friday 20 April 2018

Spanish Film Festival - supercinephile Barrie Pattison samples a popular comedy SIN RODEOS/WITHOUT FILTER (Santiago Segura, 2018)

Spanish Film Festival Again. Last year, as I commented then, was phenomenal so it’s a bit much to expect them to do that again. However it’s so far so good with some promising trailers and Santiago Segura’s Sin rodeos/Without filter.

Segura is Spain’s leading low comic, occasionally acting in substantial pictures like Hellboyor Ballad of a Sad Trumpet. His Torrente series was getting a bit thin at number five so he’s come up with what proved a daring enough choice, a comedy vehicle for the great Maribel Verdú (E tu mama tambien, Pan’s Labyrinth) an undisputed beacon in Hispanic film. She can be funny, which Meryl Streep can’t, or glamorous which Elizabeth Moss can’t, and she can do character which Ann Hathaway can’t. There should be three of her.

Segura wouldn’t be able to handle this remake of a two-year old Chilean hit without Maribel who registers gangbusters as a put upon thirty nine year old (“Forty is the new thirty. Thirty nine is nothing”) in a messy hair style and bad wardrobe. Her life is in the can. She can’t sleep for the music upstairs. The custodian is so blasted on the party dope he is sitting there with the elevator door slamming on him. Her snoring action painter artist boyfriend Rafael Spregelburd has moved his obnoxious son in with them. It’s cold showers because Rafael hasn’t paid the electricity and he’s used all her shampoo anyway.  He never gets to the super market so the fridge is empty and there’s no breakfast. It’s a drive to the office interrupted by texts with emojis from her needy friends.

Maribel Verdú, Sin Rodeos
When Maribel does get through the traffic to the ad. agency, the lecherous junior boss has given her parking spot to his new girl Instagram star who is continually recording their encounters with a selfie stick and is applauded at the campaign strategy meeting for dismissing infomercials and contributing the concept that definite ideas are just not 2018. She ignores the boss’s now out dated high five.

Maribel’s encouraging ex-husband Diego Martín is cowered by his fiancée. The pills Maribel bolts have lost their charge and the sympathy her doctor seems to be offering is just him searching for a crossword clue. Her set also concludes a workout friend who is texting to the ex who has barred her from his line while they talk and a sister who throws parties for her cat.

Maribel’s last hope lies with guru Segura whose advertising she sees everywhere. Along with his feel good pitch, he gives her a bottle of calming medicine to sip which she’s gulped before she gets a couple of blocks.

At this point she punches out the abusive woman driver blocking her way, throws out the boyfriend when he won’t answer the door for the internet service man or talk to the son who is busily making porn in their bed room. 

Maribel takes her revenge on all her tormentors climaxed by setting fire to the non-stop party host’s gleaming red sports car, getting the applause of his stoned guests on the balcony above.

Finally she’s got peace but by this time she’s forgotten to give the medicine to her sister’s now deceased cat. There’s more, with a final rather splendid scene where she’s lured by the ex-husband’s fiancée using his stolen cell phone’s texts while still snacking on her baby food puré diet. The three thrash out the details of the fiancées success with blow jobs to the delight of the stoners. This is pure Segura gross out. 

Lots of “puta madre” and a bit of “Io te odio.” It all drives on the strength of Verdú’s great performance but the mounting is excellent and the here unfamiliar face cast are great, something that only becomes obvious when they go out of character to join in dancing to the play out music - everyone a mover.

We’re not too far from Nothing But the Truth. Not great art or even a significant comment on the issues it works through but this one is a fun night at the movies and a nice contribution to the credits of its star and writer-director.

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