Antonio de la Torre, Monica Lopez, Josep Maria Pou
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…an intriguing, interesting and most importantly, entertaining film.
Making politics interesting in cinema is often quite a daunting task. But when corruption is in the news, we flock to watch these politicians’ very public fall from grace. And this is the exact reason why The Realm was a surprisingly engaging and attention-holding political thriller.
The Spanish film follows the story of Manuel (Antonio de la Torre), vice-secretary to one of Spain’s political parties whose high-class lifestyle comes crumbling down when news breaks publicly of his involvement in a number of tax-evasion and corruption scandals.
Manuel is the type of person everyone knows, seemingly feared as much as he is respected. Not at the top, not at the bottom, just at the right spot to avoid being noticed by unwanting eyes, or so he thought. Friends quickly become foes when the film’s unofficial catch slogan “power protects power” comes into play.
Originally trying to shut the mouths of everyone around him when a fellow member of the corrupted gang gets caught, the situation quickly flips on him when someone speaks. His downfall is heavily publicised, quickly becoming public enemy number 1, and he is left to fight for his own survival, culminating in an amazingly simple but extremely effective final scene.
The film moves from scene to scene in rapid succession, only letting go for brief moments for you to catch your breath; it keeps you hooked to the words, like a novel you just can’t put down.
Antonio de la Torre puts on a fantastic show; believable and emotional, and often you’re left feeling sympathetic towards the character until you realise he has stolen millions from the Spanish taxpayer. Supported by a wealth of talented actors, the on-screen talent draws you into the scandals as they unfold, showing the behind the scenes breakdowns and betrayals that the real-world incidents never show.
The stereotypical Euro-dance soundtrack does little to enhance the emotion of the film, rather just supporting the pace, keeping it at a near frantic speed. Also, the often unnecessary use of shaky cam makes you feel like the film was filmed on a yacht at sea rather than on the streets of various Spanish cities. This is contrasted by the great camera work and cinematography that makes up the majority the film, leaving the feeling that it almost had two directors working on the project.
Beyond the minor flaws, The Realm is an intriguing, interesting and most importantly, entertaining film. In a political thriller genre that has seen new popularity in the wake of a certain politician who shall not be named, The Realm offers a well-acted and plotted story of a corrupt man’s very public fall from grace.