El Angel – TIFF 2018 Review

Unlike the suave titular anti-hero presented in El Angel, the film itself was a bit of an unsurprising and predictable flop . For a film which follows the infamous carryings of teen criminal Carlos Robledo Puch, there isn’t anything much going for the film’s material. A lot of the product felt very tamed, which is a shame, due to how award-winning spanish director, Pedro Almodovar produced this film. Most of the films which Almodovar produces is very riske, such as the 2014 academy award nominated flick Wild Tales, which makes El Angel a bit of a sore thumb in comparison.

For this reason, this is what’s keeping El Angel at a bit of a mixed bag state. It plays a lot of elements from the crime genre extremely safe, to the point where the film felt very repetitive. Not to mention that there were glimmers of potential material. The subtle LGBTQ elements, the relationship with his parents, and Carlos’s mannerisms are all factors that could have been expanded on, and even more so, may have created a more enlightening and dense film.

While it may be predictable and occasionally disappointing, there’s plenty to enjoy here. Lorenzo Ferro gives one hell of a performance in portraying infamous historical figure Carlos Puch. Without his charisma and daring acting chops, the film would have easily been just plain boring. The production design, music choices, and costumes all perfectly merged together in a pitch perfect homage to the crime ridden streets of 1970’s Argentina.

El Angel is in no way a perfect film. It’s end result was a bit distasteful and overly repetitive, but there’s enough material here to call the end product decent. It’s occasionally wild and over the top, but there’s nothing all that memorable to keep it from anything more than ‘Solid.’ It’s a commendable effort, and I hope that director Luis Ortega continues what he’s doing. I’m sure that there’s an appropriate audience for his films and TV shows, and I wish the very best for him in the future. As for myself, I feel like there’s no need to re-watch this film in the future, but it’s still worth a watch for any who have not seen this film, when it comes on to streaming.

6/10

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The Orchard Will Release “El Angel” in limited theaters on Nov 9, 2018

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