It’s hard to muster up any sympathy for the assorted terrorists, pimps, sluts , junkies and other Basque lowlifes that infest this sordid and dull exercise in profanity.
Instead of any attempt to explain or even justify the motives of ETA separationist thugs, helmer/scripter Imanol Uribe prefers to lense a tedious succession of off-putting sex and drug scenes that are mostly irrelevant to the vague plot.
Antonio, a member of an ETA commando, is more interested in his slutty, unattractive neighbor than in his terrorist mission: to set off a bomb in front of a Madrid police station.
The cops, portrayed as little better than the terrorists, never get wise to him, as the scene shifts between somewhere in the north of Spain and Madrid, and even briefly to Granada for a “romantic” sequence. Along the way, Antonio shoots an inoffensive traffic cop standing on a street corner in Madrid, just to show he’s tough.
Carmelo Gomez is rather bland as the terrorist; Ruth Gabriel is unsexy as the slut; and Javier Bardem, as the drugged-up tipster, is just revolting. Pic won the San Sebastian fest’s top prize, the Golden Shell.