The tentative romance between a gentle Madrid labourer and a working single mother becomes a struggle for survival when the woman’s violent boyfriend returns from prison, in the gritty, suspenseful debut feature from popular Spanish actor Raúl Arévalo (Ghost Graduation, DarkBlueAlmostBlack).
The Fury of a Patient Man
Raúl Arévalo is one of Spain's most dynamic and prolific actors. In Festival favourites like Ghost Graduation and DarkBlueAlmostBlack, he has shown himself to be equally at home in comedy and drama. But Arévalo's first feature as director is unequivocally dark, a thriller about a man who has waited eight years to avenge a crime everyone else has forgotten.
The unassuming José (Antonio de la Torre, of Cannibal and Volver) is a fixture at a local bar in one of Madrid's working-class barrios. Bartender Ana (Ruth Díaz) lives alone with her son, who was conceived during a conjugal visit with the jailed criminal Curro (Luis Callejo). Ana has been waiting eight years for Curro's release, but José's gentleness is beginning to win her over.
When Curro finally returns home, he has become an angry and resentful man. José offers Ana his country house as a refuge from her volatile boyfriend, and she accepts, unaware of José's ulterior motive. And this is only the beginning of a plot whose many twists and turns take its characters to unsettling, violent places.
Though set in present-day Castile, the film has distinct echoes of the western genre — especially once it turns into the story of a dogged pursuit that goes from one small town to the next. But as José's quest for truth and justice continues, it leaves only betrayal and suffering in its wake.
Precisely paced and unremittingly realistic, Arévalo's gritty, suspenseful debut is a study of the poisoning effects of the desire for revenge.