Review: ‘Tangiers’

Forties noir meets '90s Madrid in novelist Juan Madrid's debut, "Tangiers," to inevitably confused effect. Madrid's qualities as a writer have not successfully transferred to celluloid, and film's reach far exceeds its grasp. Result is a cold exercise in style plagued by first-timer errors. Offshore theatrical prospects look slim.

Forties noir meets ’90s Madrid in thriller novelist Juan Madrid’s debut, “Tangiers,” to inevitably confused effect. Madrid’s qualities as a writer –hard-boiled terseness and a canny understanding of human nature — have not successfully transferred to celluloid, and film’s reach far exceeds its grasp. Result is a cold exercise in style plagued by first-timer errors. Offshore theatrical prospects look slim.

Moroccan-born Abdul (Cuban thesp Jorge Perugorria) returns to Madrid to work for his father, Richi (Jose Manuel Cervino), in latter’s shady debt-collection agency — which turns out to be a cover for a drug-trafficking ring. He meets and gets it on with Richi’s femme fatale lover, Lidia (Ana Fernandez). Characters are generally one-dimensional, and when they aren’t (e.g., Abdul), they’re bewildering. Ambitious, often implausible plot heads off in all sorts of strange directions. Tech credits are decent.

Tangiers

Spain

Production

A World Entertainment, Abaco Movies production, in association with TVE, Via Digital. Executive producer, Isidro F. Requena. Directed, written by Juan Madrid, based on his novel.

Crew

Camera (color), Federico Ribes; editor, Miguel A. Santamaria; music, Jesus Gluck. Reviewed at Cine Princesa, Madrid, Sept. 10, 2003. (In San Sebastian Film Festival -- Open Zone.) Original title: Tanger. Running time: 106 MIN.

With

Jorge Perugorria, Ana Fernandez, Fele Martinez, Jose Manuel Cervino, Ramon J. Marquez.
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