May 20, 2018

filmsgraded.com:
May God Save Us (2016)
Grade: 70/100

Director: Rodrigo Sorogoyen
Stars: Roberto Álamo, Antonio de la Torre, Javier Pereira

What it's about. A buddy cop movie set in Madrid and filmed in Spanish. Alfaro (Roberto Álamo) are detective homicide partners. Alfaro has a temper that occasionally lapses into violence. He has a wife, Juana (Rocío Muñoz-Cobo), and a hot teenage daughter, Elena (María de Nati). Velarde is introverted and stammers. Nonetheless, after a fitful and troubled start, he begins a relationship with janitor Rosario (María Ballesteros).

They are on the trail of a serial killer who rapes and vicious beats to death his elderly victims. They get closer to closer to catching the killer, Andrés (Javier Pereira) but he proves resourceful.

How others will see it. Probably due to its status as a foreign language film, May God Save Us is surprisingly obscure. At imdb.com, it has a scant 5K user votes. The user ratings are high but short of outstanding, climbing from 7.2 overall to a 7.5 among women over 45, whom likely bump the film up because the murderer is assaulted in the film's final scene.

Outside of Spain, the film was generally ignored. It was a much different matter in Spain. It was nominated for six Goya Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, winning Best Actor (Álamo). Results were similar at the Feroz Awards. These two festivals are the Spanish equivalent to the Oscars and Golden Globes, respectively.

How I felt about it. May God Save Us really is a good movie, but it can be confusing, and many moments are odd. For example, Velarde makes the moves on Rosario, but this is at odds with his prior Rain Man imitation. Rosario returns to Velarde after he has physically assaulted her. Why, other than that is what the director believes the audience wants.

Alfaro's family is told that he has died, and they show no reaction. Pereira is identified as the likely murderer, and when the cops come calling at his place, he just happens to have just murdered two people.

Alonso is injured, apparently from a fight with his wife's lover. He returns home, and his dog is dead. Had he been gone for a week? It seems he was fired. No, actually, he was suspended. Three years later, Velarde has tracked down Andrés, to murder him. Has the statute of limitations expired? And does every middle-aged male lead have to have a comely teenage daughter?

The film's continuity is so curious that it may be best to take it on a scene by scene basis, and not worry about whether what you are seeing makes sense relative to previous scenes. On that basis, the movie is pretty good. The casting, characters, and dramatic tension overcome the many improbable plot events.

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