Political thriller The Realm more than just an act

Antonio de la Torre in The Realm.
Antonio de la Torre in The Realm.

EVEN for just its final 10 minutes, Spanish film The Realm would qualify as a vastly superior political thriller.

There is eye-popping action but above all, there is anger, anger with the kind of heat that transforms objects around it.

This is not just a film about politics but a political act in itself.

With our first sighting of Manuel (Antonio de la Torre), he is a faceless man but one in a hurry.

He’s heading to a gathering of friends and colleagues and his movement is framed from behind. He’s purposeful and clearly carries a level of authority and confidence.

He’s a regional vice-secretary with a path to federal duties. Life is good. Very good. Until it isn’t.

There’s a scandal, never fully fleshed out but involving the misappropriation of European Union subsidies.

With a relatively brief glimpse of Manuel at his peak, there is an extended and varied expose of his undermining and disgrace.

He’s nothing if not a resourceful and self-assured scrapper, using every trick to protect his reputation and then, as the heat is applied, making clear others will go down too.

There is intrigue and eventually, menace, leading to a conclusion of the highest quality, with an unexpected shock value.

The just completed Federal Election might have left you with anything from a broad range of emotions, from euphoria, to absolute indifference.

There’s no room for either here. The faceless men and women have a face.

 

THE ESSENTIALS

The Realm (M) (Spanish with English subtitles)

Directed by: Rodrigo Sorogoyen

Starring: Antonio de la Torre, Monica Lopez, Jose Maria Pou

Reviewed by: Martin Turner

In cinemas now

4.5 stars