Delivers a nicely twisted plot and lots of suited men with guns.

If a young Quentin Tarantino had found himself stranded on a northern Spanish beach with a pen, some paper and a local mafioso ordering him to write, the result might have looked something like “Guts.” Delivering a nicely twisted plot and lots of suited men with guns, this overcooked sleaze-and-seafood empanada nevertheless loses its flavor after an hour, descending into anything-goes territory. Home B.O. has been solid but unspectacular since early September release; offshore prospects look slim for a project with such a tight local focus.

Unpleasant, ambitious young ex-con Sebastian (Hugo Silva) heads for the coast after being run out of Madrid. He starts working at a fish-processing plant, a cover-up for a drug operation headed by ruthless Regueira (Carmelo Gomez, nicely overstated). After Sebastian kills kindly Raul (Celso Bugallo, providing the only authentically human note), Regueira sees the boy’s got guts and takes him on, but soon enough, Sebastian is out of his depth. The plot, involving local politicos and implausible Russian mafia types, seems unsure just how seriously it should take itself, and the script relies too heavily on old movies, right down to its final twist.




A Sony Pictures Releasing release of a Zebra, Continental production with the participation of TVE, TVG. (International sales: Latido Films, Madrid.) Produced by Pancho Casal, Antonio Saura. Executive producer, Carmen de Miguel. Directed by Andres Luque, Samuel Martin. Screenplay, Javier Echaniz, Juan Antonio Gil Bengoa.


Camera (color), Juan Carlos Gomez; editor, Guillermo Represa; music, Arturo Vaquero, Xavier Font. Reviewed at Cines Princesa, Madrid, Sept. 4, 2009. Original title: Agallas. Running time: 99 MIN.


Hugo Silva, Carmelo Gomez, Carlos Sante, Rula Blanco, Tomas Lijo, Xavier Estevez, Pepo Suevos, Celso Bugallo, Yoima Valdes, Isabel Blanco.
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