Seasoned actor Raúl Arévalo makes a surprisingly impressive directorial debut in the revenge thriller, "Tarde para la ira" [Eng. Title: The Fury of a Patient Man].
The film begins with Curro (the brilliant Luis Callejo) driving the getaway car following a robbery - he gets knocked down by a police car and is arrested following a chase. He's the only one in the gang who gets caught, and since the robbery ends in the murder of one of the victims and permanent life support of another, Curro ends up serving eight years. The film fast forwards to the day of his release, and his girlfriend Ana (Ruth Díaz) turns up to receive him.
Ana, during these years, has also been having an affair with José (Antonio de la Torre), a mysterious but sociable customer who frequents her cafe and joins her partner-brother Juanjo (Raúl Jiménez) for poker. An irascible Curro joins them upon his return and violently confronts José following a game. To pacify a worried Ana, José invites her and her five year old son to spend a weekend at his vacant country house - he hadn't used it since his fiance's murder during a robbery eight years ago.
José returns to Madrid and calls Curro using Ana's mobile phone. With his not-so-subtle message conveyed in the subtlest manner, José asks Curro for some 'cooperation' so that Ana and his son could be returned home safely. The rest of the film works like a road movie as José and Curro piece together clues in determining the whereabouts of the other members of the gang - the actual murderers, because they had stopped keeping in touch with Curro following his incarceration...
I watched the film on a whim, without any clue about the plot (thankfully so, for I'm not the greatest fan of the genre), but the first minute was enough to have me transfixed. The director doesn't put a foot wrong from the word 'go' with great screenplay, timing, and shot selection. Aided with the judicious use of Steadycam and some masterful cinematography, not least the ultra realistic performances from the ensemble cast, it is small wonder that the film bagged a handful of Goya Awards this year. If more thrillers were as good as this, they'll surely win a new fan in me - Highly Recommended Viewing..!
Amazon DVD Link [PAL]
The Nudity: Ruth Díaz
The reason for this post is obviously not for the nudity, which by the way is fleeting when it happens; whether during Ana's conjugal visit in prison, a post-coital chat between Ana and José, or when Curro realises that all's not well with matters concerning Ana. Ruth Díaz gives an impeccable performance as Ana.