THE BAR (EL BAR) (2017)


Directed By: Alex De La Iglesia
Written By: Alex De La Iglesia & Jorge Guerricaechevarria
Cinematography By: Angel Amoros
Editor: Domingo Gonzalez 

Cast: Blanca Suarez, Mario Casas, Carmen Michi, Secun De La Rosa, Jamie Ordonez, Terele Pavez, Joaquin Climent, Alejandro Awada, Jordi Aguilar 

On an ordinary day in bustling downtown Madrid, life ticks over as usual, while inside a decrepit and noisy central bar, a motley assortment of common urbanites is killing time indolently, up until a loud gunshot sends chills down the spine. Out of the blue, now a man lies dead in front of the bar in a pool of blood, and then surprisingly, in broad daylight, another death follows. Where did that mysterious lethal bullet come from? Is this an act of terrorism or is there a solitary invisible sniper hidden on a roof? As hysteria prevails and the bodies miraculously vanish into thin air, the perplexed and terrified bar’s regulars are bound to turn on each other, paranoid and suspicious of the potential assassin who might be hiding inside the place. Is there indeed a wolf among sheep?

What works in the film is how desperate each character becomes and how some are the same they were at the beginning of the film, but how some change so quickly. The film at times does feel a little brutal. As the characters fight for survival.

What I liked about the film is how one character seems to keep changing at first seeming innocent, gen seeming tot ale the leader role but showing signs of being selfish then changing into seeming like a mad man with power and then finally seeming to become decent again. Like that character the film Keeps changing and keeping you guessing where it will go while sticking to it’s Core premise and story. Which is very simple.

The film starts off more as a ensemble comedy. Then seems to become. A paranoid thriller. Then a conspiracy movie. Then a social drama. Before becoming a thriller. Towards the end it becomes a bit over stylized. Though the film seems to feed itself and it’s audience conspiracy theories, action, thriller, horror, drama, comedy scantily clad attractive woman.

The films horror elements are more hinted at and more go for social commentary and a conspiracy. Leaving the film and it’s characters to just showcase human horror. Though the main element of this film an infection or virus that is very vague as we learn just that it originated in Africa. That the man might have been infected and getting better thanks to a vaccine, but we don’t know if it works. Then The characters get paranoid about having the virus without showing any signs of contamination. Though fight over the vaccinations. Showing them going just as overboard as the police and military keeping them quarantined.

It’s just that at times the film comes off as vague and uneven. The film isn’t slow but is takes it’s time coming up with any answers for the Audience. The vagueness works here as no or. Is ever given a full explanation only clues. So lowly eh character we just assume. Though some in the audience might find that more to equal bad writing.

The film isn’t a disappointment. It just seems rather tame coming from writer director Alex de la Iglesia. Whose previous films have been much wilder and unorthodox. This plays into his wheelhouse but seems much more grounded the. Any of his previous efforts. It’s not a bad film or even his worse film by a long shot, as even tame de la iglesia is as twisted and alive as far as coach Emma goes then more than half of the working directors working.

At the heart of the film and it’s foundation is mystery. As one seems to keep getting set up. When you are given the answers or figure one out. When the mysteries start to dissipate is when the film more relies one morons and characters In The third act. It is also when more of the action begins to take place.

This film just seems to be one of his simplest films and least exciting. Though after some of his more recent epics such as WITCHING & BITCHING and especially THE LAST CIRCUS. His films feel more small scale though this is more a return to his earlier works If you come to the film with little to no expectations. The film is a nice little dish that will fill you up.

Grade C+

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