A Spanish 1990's type of crime thriller/action but without the Tarantinoesque
or Guy Ritchie ironic touches that feels so outdated when watching
their films today. So, more serious but still a 1990's type of violent
crime movie and what makes this film stand out today are mainly the
Victoria Abril is nothing but fantastic in the role
as Gloria Duque and she owns this film with her deaply felt and very
intense performance of a
woman down on her luck. She's a total mess, a prostitute, a pick-pocket,
alcoholic and robber. Some would say she's a despicable 33 year old
as she has abandoned her comatose and on lifesupport husband in Madrid
and instead gives blowjobs to gangsters in Mexico City.
She's constantly mistreated and abused by men and her
self-esteem is at sunken submarine levels and nothing points to that
she will ever be able to
get a hold on her life and turn her path to destruction around. Will
her struggle to live a better life make her reach redemption and get
us, the viewers,
to like her, does bears crap in the ..... etc. etc. ? Because Gloria
Duque is not a very likeable woman, she's a mess, a gangster herself
really, but she wins
us over finally, fighting to get a normal job (without having to give
blowjobs to nasty creeps) and standing up to violent dangerous men.
Maybe this film isn't that deep to be honest, it's not
a masterpiece, but the Powerhouse performance from
Victoria Abril and also from Pilar Bardem as
the mother-in-law makes it a Spanish classic. I've seen Abril in some
Pedro Almodovar film but not in something like this, she's great, i
I had never heard about this film before to be honest, and found it
on a 2004 Spanish edition DVD without any subtitles when vacationing
I don't speak much spanish so i don't really know why Gloria abandoned
her family and comatose ex-toreador husband to try her luck in Mexico
Maybe she got tired and fled the domestic misery and we don't (or i
didn't anyway) get to know the background to her, when and why she became
a prostitute. Was she a glory wife to a famous Toreador and who abandoned
him when he got hurt, fleeing the misery ? We (or I) don't know.
The film starts in Mexico City with Gloria on her knees
giving blowjobs to some dirty men, 4 gangsters handling some money laundering
deal, 2 mexicans
and 2 gringos. In an intense scene this business goes wrong and turns
into a bloodbath when they start to kill each other. Gloria survives
found at the crime scene by the police and she's hastily deported out
of the country and back to Madrid, Spain.
But, with her she brings a notebook that one of the dying gangsters
gave her, filled with information of the mexican crime gangs operations
world, the smuggling of money and the means of how it's done, including
the money being sewn into the lining of furs.
Back in Madrid Gloria moves in with her mother-in-law
and vegetable husband again as she's reluctantly admitted by Doña
Julia (Pilar Bardem in a great
and also Goya filmprize awarded performance). But it's a struggle, she's
a mess and resorts to pick-pocketing, drinking and even armed robbery
some of the info she found in the notebook) and it seems unlikely that
she will ever get up on her feet again. But, she has got some Moxie
in her, so ....
However, her struggle won't get easier when one of the
surviving Mexican gangsters, Eduardo (Federico Luppi) turns up at her
doorstep in Madrid.
Doña Amelia, the wife of the killed gang boss is now the brutal
new boss of the Mexican gang and she has sent Eduardo and the younger
Oswaldo (Daniel Jimenez Cacho) to Madrid to retrieve the notebook and
kill the puta. Will Gloria survive, will she win our hearts and find
a job ?
Great film. Great performances from everyone, including
Pilar Bardem and Federico Luppi as the middle-aged and gentlemanlike
and a Super Performance from Victoria Abril as Gloria
Duque, just unforgettable and i'm still thinking about her many days
after watching the film.
The DVD presents the film in widescreen 1.66:1 and with
a Spanish audio 2.0 without english subtitles. Extras a trailer, filmography
and a presentation of
and anecdotes about, the film by the director Agustin Diaz Yanes in
spanish without english subtitles