The Paramedic

Vampire Owl: Another good Spanish film to watch? That sounds fair.

Vampire Bat: Well, we have always wanted to have more foreign movies to watch.

Vampire Owl: As we speak, the theatres are opening here too.

Vampire Bat: Well, the question remains – for how long?

Vampire Owl: So, you think that the next wave is coming soon.

Vampire Bat: I can already feel it to be close. One only has to wonder about the terror the virus can unleash this time.

Vampire Owl: Nobody is afraid of the Corona virus anymore.

Vampire Bat: They need to be afraid. It is a shame if they are not.

Vampire Owl: Well, people make their own strange choices these days.

Vampire Bat: Not people, just humans. All the other species are fine.

[Gets a chicken samosa and three cups of cardamom tea].

What is the movie about? :: Angel Hernandez (Mario Casas) is a paramedic who doesn’t care about his patients, and he also steals valuable items from them if he gets a chance. He is also disappointed about not having a child with his girl friend, Vanesa Francois (Deborah Francois) with whom he shares an apartment. He is also very possessive towards her, and blames her for them not having a child. But she wouldn’t care that much about the same, as she is ore interested in her work and advanced level of studies. Things get only worse when their ambulance which his colleague Ricardo (Guillermo Pfening) was driving meets with an accident, and Angel is paralyzed from waist down, leaving him on a wheel chair. This also further strains the relationship between him and Vanesa, and he begins to feel that she is cheating on him. His doubts only increase, and he also starts spying on her – when she realizes the same, she leaves him. But he still remains obssessed with her, and wouldn’t stop stalking her.

So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: Soon, he comes to know that Vanesa has also started a relationship with Ricardo. Soon, he feels that they are going to have a baby, and that further disappoints him. As he goes through his therapy, Angel is more and more concerned about the sequence of events which had occurred earlier. Therefore, he decides to take matters into his hands and calls Vanessa to come back to their apartment, and take her remaining possessions. But when she arrives, he injects him with medicines that leave her unconscious, and ties her to the bed. He also sends messages to Ricardo from her mobile phone, about her not wishing to have the baby, and that she is also not interested in continuing the relationship anymore. He also injects him with drugs so that she temporarily losses the use of her legs. Now, he has plans of them living together like this, and also raise the baby which she would have. Now, it is up to her to try to escape, and him to continue with his strange plans. The question remains about who will succeed in the end.

The defence of The Paramedic :: The Paramedic is partly a thriller and in part a drama, as we look at it. There are moments which raise the level of the movie, and it is very strong in parts, as we look at it. Some moments will be remembered, even though not fully, and the weirdness and sadness of the main character who often gets psychotic will be remembered. The tension does become stronger at times, and at times, we have some anguish and melancholy taking over, even though not at the strongest with the same. Yet, the same doesn’t reach the full potential, even when we feel that it is rising. The setting is really good, with the Spanish streets and an apartment proving as good backgrounds to the work. For a good amount of time, the movie has a certain amount of realistic feeling, and it is also simple enough, even though its characters are indeed complicated. After all, considering the times in which we live in, there are not many things which are not possible among humanity which has come down by a long way.

The claws of flaw :: The Paramedic had the chance to be something bigger, but it doesn’t use its scope to the best advantage. After the premise changes, and the quick turn of events create something for the film to use in the best possibly ways, it keeps itself back instead. In between everything that happened in the movie, we could have been able to add so many things here and there, but this one chooses to go the usual path, without adding the innovative. The movie is also too slow, and it doesn’t pick up the pace even when there was the certain chance to do so. The drag that it had in between could have been easily avoided. The ending is also not that strong enough, as we were expecting something huge happening with the climax too, but that was also not there. It could have also had some very disturbing and scary things to be added in between, and we feel that they could have arrived at many points. It could have been more fun, or with more substance, but both cases are ignored by the film which just goes on without the deviations.

Performers of the soul :: Mario Casas is solid in his role, which turns out to be a very negative one only a few minutes into the movie. He maintains the characteristics of the role throughout the run, and that does brings some unpredictability in between. Deborah Francois also comes up with a strong performance, as it is required from her here. Her character also changes, and gathers a lot of strength throughout the existence. The other characters give some support, and they are of lesser significance. It is to be noted that there are not characters whom we can call good, as most of them have a neutral vibe or the grey side in action here. We are not admirers of any of these characters, and most of us won’t even make friends out of them. Among the smaller performers who catch our attention, the first one is Maria Rodriguez Soto who has a lot of melancholy going on with her, and Guillermo Pfening who becomes a reason to keep the story going. Celso Bugallo also adds a bit there.

How it finishes :: The Paramedic was a fine opportunity to come up with something huge, but the film refuses to take that risk, and manages to provide us with the usual rather than anything else. While reading about the movie, the expectations were surely higher. For a movie which is known more as a thriller, more thrills are surely required, and with such fine performers, the film could have achieved more. With the theatres all prepared to open, one can wonder if what people would choose now, to go to the OTT platforms or go back to the theatres. I would wait in that case, and go for the movies which are still available in those platforms to watch. After all, the third wave of Corona virus might still be ready to come. You have to stay safe during these periods of time, and it has to be a thing of priority, not just for yourself, but also for the people around you. The two doses of vaccine are no guarantee for anything, and so we are supposed to continue to be as careful as we used to be in the beginning of this pandemic and during the lockdowns and quarantines.

Release date: 16th September 2020
Running time: 94 minutes
Directed by: Carles Torras
Starring: Mario Casas, Deborah Francois, Celso Bugallo, Raul Jimenez, Pol Monen, Gerard Oms, Guillermo Pfening, Maria Rodriguez Soto

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Cross the Line

Vampire Owl: Do you know that Spain has become my dream country again?

Vampire Bat: I thought that you were going to Romania.

Vampire Owl: All vampires are supposed to have some interest in Romania.

Vampire Bat: Does that lead to an interest in Spanish movies?

Vampire Owl: I don’t see why it shouldn’t.

Vampire Bat: Well, we already have some interesting Spanish favourites.

Vampire Owl: This seems to be the more critically appreciated type.

Vampire Bat: That doesn’t guarantee that this could be your type of a movie.

Vampire Owl: There is no my type of movie unless I make one.

Vampire Bat: Well, vampires don’t make movies, but do watch them.

[Gets a pineapple cake and three glasses of orange shake].

What is the movie about? :: Daniel (Mario Casas) is a shy and good-mannered man who is working at a travel agency in Barcelona. He is very much interested in his job, and loves his family consisting of his father and sister. After their father dies, Dani’s sister Laura (Elisabeth Larena) arranges a trip around the world for him from his own company, as he was the one who was taking care of their father, and might be missing the presence of their bed-ridden father. He is not really fond of the trip though, and he is not interested in changing his lifestyle either. He hopes that he can cancel the trip because there is a two week window, and therefore he just accepts the idea. It is then that he comes across a girl at a restaurant and cafe where he often spends time over a burger, and meeting this girl, Milagros (Milena Smit) changes how things would go about in his life from then. She borrows a small amount from him, and is not happy because she really wants to give it back to him.

So, what happens with the events here as some twist is coming up? :: She keeps asking him to come with her for the money despite him not wishing for it to be returned. They take a walk through the street to the place where she works. Finally, as she is a tattoo artist, decides to give him a tattoo instead. He is reluctant again, but finally decides to go for one due to her consistent persuasion. He becomes interested in her, and therefore, he continues to follow her when she asks for his company. But as he goes to her apartment, her interest in him stays only for a few minutes. Soon, things take a twist, and things are not as what he had thought they were. He would commit a murder due to the circumstances, and soon people would be after him, and it won’t be about just police looking for the murderer. These are not the circumstances which he thought he would have to go through at any point of his straightforward life, but he would have to work through it. Now his life has changed, but unlike what his sister thought, it is not for the best.

The defence of Cross the Line :: The film has managed thing nicely with less resources, and it something which we can appreciate. We can also see the beautiful colours on the screen as well as the spaces which also have that beauty about it. There is some nice music being used here, and the sound effects are really good. The film also serves as a morality tale in disguise, as it talks about what can happen when one crosses the line, hence the title being justified here. There is the side effects of what can happen when one immediately begins to trust someone, especially someone beautiful – you should always have limitations in a world like this, where things are not the same as what seem from outside. The situation of such a person is shown perfectly, without the addition of melodrama or extraordinary elements, and a change coming upon him is also visible. All these happen very quickly, and lasting only about three hours, there is no time being wasted here. It is a continuous busy ride from the beginning, even though the elements of thriller come up later only, and we stay close to the protagonist.

Positives and negatives :: Cross the Line, originally known as No Mataras, is no usual thriller, as it goes on from a drama to thriller half way, more or less like Drishyam and its remakes which changed the mood at the centre stage. So, there is that certain diversion, and some people might have wanted the mood in the beginning to continue, and others might have wanted a full thriller, but this one depends on that twist of events to make things happen. It also has no character development of others as it is completely focusing on the protagonist all the time, giving no importance to others except for in moments. It also ends too soon, and the ending could have had a certain amount of extraordinary, as this film is not something which is not scared of taking the risks. Along with that, Barcelona is among the top ten cities which I want to visit in my life, and in Western Europe, it is the first place which I wish to travel to, and I would hope that the same could be achieved some day, but after COVID-19 pandemic, you never know where you will end up.

Performers of the soul :: The performance from Mario Casas won him the Best Actor Award at the Goya Awards, Spain’s prestigious national annual film awards, and it is no surprise when we watch the film. The performance is realistic, and as far as performances from actors in foreign films are concerned, I would consider his work to be among the best, and something which should have all that appreciation. I had also loved his performance in Adios which released earlier. Along with the same, Milena Smit was also nominated for Best New Actress Award, coming very close to winning that one – when we look at her work here, even though not lasting throughout the film, is really good. She excels with her emotions, and I would love to see more of her in other movies, maybe in Hollywood too. The situations without money and clothes would seem to make her vulnerable, but it can be seen that her character dictates things even when it doesn’t seem so – a character at the strongest when dumped in a relationship, or when fully naked. Fernando Valdivielso was also nominated for Best New Actor there, and he had some good short time in the film too. Elisabeth Larena is a strong name in the film too, and in a film which is dominated by the main actor, she has her moments.

How it finishes :: The movie focuses on one character, and it has two others who are there for enough time to call them as providing support, and with these itself, the film manages to do very well. Serving as a message to what could happen if you cross the line, and also showing how much it can change a person, the film does the same very effectively. The thrilling moments of the film are supported really well by the music that runs in the background. The tension-filled atmosphere being nicely built, this is the kind of film that stays with you for the experience. With seemingly lesser budget and minimal characters, what the film has managed needs to be appreciated. One can be sure that there are many things that can be learnt from this particular film, and this one with its ending seems to taunt us to ask for a possible sequel too. Well, with films like these, it is only fair to hope for more, as it was short and we would have wished for it to go on for more.

Release date: 16th October 2020
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: David Victori
Starring: Mario Casas, Milena Smit, Elisabeth Larena, Javier Mula, Fernando Valdivielso, Aysha Daraaui, Javier Mula

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Adios

Vampire Owl: So, there is a goodbye related to this title.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the movie is about the death of a child and the following vengeance.

Vampire Owl: Well, there is nothing that catches the audience better than a revenge tale.

Vampire Bat: I agree to that. They are repeated so many times, and still they are so popular.

Vampire Owl: What is surprising is that some good movies become random tales of revenge as it progresses to the end.

Vampire Bat: Yes, Anjaam Pathiraa showed such a tendency, but Forensic was beyond it, with a psycho killer with no motive other than the murder itself.

Vampire Owl: I have always felt that such tales should be a sub-genre with further divisions following it.

Vampire Bat: I feel that that this setting in Sevilla in Spain is perfect too.

Vampire Owl: Well, I did love that setting in Italy too.

Vampire Bat: Yes, the setting of Piranhas. That would be a suitable setting too.

[Gets a blueberry cake and three glasses of pineapple shake].

What is the movie about? :: In a neighbourhood of Sevilla in Spain, there is an area where police, law and order ends up having no power at all. In a newly re-established underworld of drugs and organized crime, Juan Santos (Mario Casas) is a con man gets out of the prison to celebrate the First Communion of Estrella Santos (Paulina Fenoy), their only daughter, with his wife Triana (Natalia de Molina). His uncle Andres Santos (Vicente Romero) and nephew Chico Santos (Mauricio Morales) do come to him on he day of function with a gift, and calls him back to the world of crime, but he is not ready to do that, thinking about his wife and daughter. But on the same day, there is an accident after the party, and after being hit by another car, they are injured, but their daughter dies. The police officers Manuel Santacana (Carlos Bardem) and Eli (Ruth Diaz) who arrives nearby at a murder scene to investigate the killing of four Romanians who were drug traffickers, realizes that the murder is connected to this accident.

So, what happens with the events here? :: Discovering that the car that caused the accident which killed Estrella is the same as that of the killers of those Romanians, Juan meets his mother Maria Santos (Mona Marinez), former Santos’ family mob boss who expelled from the locality by two rival families Fortuna and Taboa. She also seeks vengeance for her grand-daughter, as Andre and Chico also offers their help. A drug addict named Maravilla (Pilar Gomez), tells the cops that it was done by Fortuna family, and even though a strong police force is deployed, the boss Gordo Fortuna (Moreno Borja) escapes from the area. Juan tries running after him, but it is of no use. But there is more than what meets the eye, and the Santos family will not have many chances to regain their lost glory – finding those who were responsible for the death of Estrella Santos, the youngest member of the family, would be a nice start. But, as things go further complicated, there is no hope for them without making friends out of enemies, and vice versa – can Juan be successful in finding the person who caused the death of his only daughter?

The defence of Adios :: There is the early feeling of what is to come, from the beginning itself – the feeling never goes away. The feeling of sadness that runs through this movie is strong, and we feel that not just from the parents of the child meeting accident, but also from the lady police officer who is in charge of the case. The visuals of the city are beautiful, and there are some moments of intensity related to some action and there is suspense with twists to come in the later stages. With the movie not being the usual revenge thriller where the protagonist goes on fighting random people and beating them, this one stays close to a certain amount of realism here. The background music also adds to the charm really well, and there is something about all the music which is played in this movie. With the visuals combining with the same, we have the feeling of being taken to this world, many kilometres away from us, that historical city from where Ferdinand Magellan departed for the first circumnavigation of the Earth – one of the cities of Western Europe which I would visit before most of the others if given a chance.

The claws of flaw :: Adios could have done better with its side of crime, and one wouldn’t doubt that. There is a lot more to explored for sure, as such families of crime are involved. Ruth’s character could have also had an interesting background story, as the need was ascertained during the time when she was talking about kids to the protagonist’s wife, and something was left to be said, as one could observe from that shower scene. The use of another title for the English version was also not needed, as people are well aware of this particular title. It could have simply gone for more action sequences, as the vengeance element was always going to feel the need for more strength. Guns could have been there at all times to bring the power up further. Some parts of the film could have also used some polishing, especially related to the police and the prison, as well as the other gangs which could have unleashed themselves on the streets, which never really get to have the big action out there.

Performers of the soul :: She might not be playing the protagonist in this movie, but Ruth Diaz is the one actress who scores above everyone else, as far as performances are concerned. There is a certain amount of sadness, and melancholic determination in her, which we find early enough – she feels like a beautifully crafted, complicated character with a long past of suffering whenever we look at her. Her expressions nicely support the same, and it seems that her looks also support the same. Natalia de Molina’s suffering is rather easily visible to the outward eye, and it is the kind that we know about, and she goes through that with the character really well. She plays the wife and mother in a believable manner too. Mario Casas plays the main character well, and we know that he is fit for this from the first moments than anything else. He displays the anger mixed with sadness quite well. Mona Martinez who plays the mother figure for the mob family is as solid as one can get. Vicente Romero and Mauricio Morales who play the other family members also support well here.

How it finishes :: Adios finishes well, and in the end, we are glad to have watched another version of a tale of vengeance. This would add to the entertaining during the time of Corona virus lock-down with ease. There is a certain amount of realism in the way this movie progresses, and as it doesn’t unleash a father-figure in unrealistic ways like we had seen in the Malayalam movie, The Great Father and many others from films in different languages, this one surely is a welcome flick. I would hope for more of similar movies which keep the momentum going without losing the realistic side. I would also love to keep such lovely music going on in the background. Let us hope that sooner or later, with the COVID-19 coming down at a later stage, we can have things to be better for the people related to the cinema industry who are suffering at this stage, and also the people who are running the theatres or working there. Let us hope for the best in the month of July.

Release date: 22nd November 2019
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Paco Cabezas
Starring: Mario Casas, Natalia de Molina, Ruth Diaz, Mona Martínez, Carlos Bardem, Vicente Romero, Paulina Fenoy, Mauricio Morales, Sebastian Haro, Pilar Gomez, Mariola Fuentes, Consuelo Trujillo, Pablo Gomez-Pando, Carlos Cabra, Juan Carlos Villanueva, Moreno Borja

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.