Friday, October 09, 2015

Review of 'Marshlands'

Set in Spain the early 1980s, just as the country emerges from fascism and into an uneasy democracy, this is a conventional police procedural that turns into a murder investigation. It's got lots of the usual tropes - the two cops are an ill-matched pair - one has a reputation as a trouble-making leftist, the other as a fascist thug and torturer, the local politicians want the case cleared up quickly, the case is in a remote town where the central authority's writ does not really run...

The disappearance and murders turn out to be linked to the local power elite, there's a background of strikes and class struggle, local heroin dealers...lots of very conventional plot devices (notes under the door, half-developed photographs on unusual film stock, a local investigative journalist) but some striking photography,  especially the amazing high aerial shots - which seem to me to emphasize the futility and insignificance of the events that we are witnessing.

Despite the straight narrative and characterisation this is a really good, gripping film.

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