Film Review: ‘Here’s the Deal’

Two middle-aged family men begin a life of crime in first-time Spanish director Alejandro Marzoa's nicely understated black comedy.


Miguel de Lira, Paco Tous, Unaz Ugalde, Marisol Membrillo, Manuel Lozano, Manuela Velles, Xose Manuel Olveira, Antonio Duran, Axel Fernando.

A life of crime looms as potential salvation for two middle-aged family men left high and dry by the economic recession in “Here’s the Deal,” first-time Spanish director Alejandro Marzoa’s nicely understated black comedy. Already ill equipped to navigate the everyday shoals of contemporary society, the longtime friends flounder cluelessly in completely uncharted waters when 10 kilos of cocaine wash up on their favorite fishing beach. The vaudeville-style rapport between the engaging leads keeps the humor light and steers it away from stereotypes, while weightier issues of aging and unemployment hover but never intrude. The pic’s modesty, although welcome artistically, could limit its distribution outside Spain.

Widower Manuel (Miguel de Lira) sits in his model apartment for unsalable condos, surrounded by merchandise bearing the logo of his failed corporation. Meanwhile, his best bud, Suso (Paco Tous), watches as his once-flourishing newsstand now serves as a boarded-up goal for ball-kicking kids; he’s supported by a weekly stipend from his wife’s pompous father (the late Xose Manuel Olveira). Manuel’s and Suso’s loser status even extends to their leisure-time masculine pursuits, as they resort, yet again, to surreptitiously buying their “catch” at the local fish market.

Manuel and Suso’s game-changing moment — their discovery of a fortune in illegal dope — occurs during one of their failed fishing expeditions. Burying their find at the beach and digging it up later, the two initially try to sell the drugs themselves, venturing into fashionable night-spot toilets and offering samples to ecstatic buyers at phenomenally low prices. Wrestling equally with fear, unfamiliarity and genuine scruples, they decide to go straight and give up the goods. But they surrender to a crooked cop and learn that their well-intended bid for respectability has landed them in bed with the big boys.

Instead of embroiling his in-over-their-heads protagonists in a spiraling web of increasingly dangerous action in time-honored noir tradition, director Marzoa opts to chart the potential transformation of these honorable deadbeats into successful criminals. While the duo’s shady adventures get improbably bogged down in birthday parties for drug lords’ children and trips to EuroDisney, their own domestic situations spin out of control, particularly in the case of Manuel’s upstanding son-in-law-to-be (Unaz Ugalde), who gets hauled off to jail in handcuffs.

Ultimately, Manuel and Suso are pulled back from the brink of success (or, as it turns out, imprisonment) by their innate ordinariness and the limited scope of their ambitions, here celebrated in fine style by two gifted Galacian thesps. Lenser Arnau Valls Colomer’s gentle northern-lit lighting and Curru Garabal’s comfortable production design lend the men’s surroundings an innate serenity that clinches the deal.

Film Review: 'Here's the Deal'

Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (First Films, competing), Aug. 31, 2013.  Running time: 86 MIN. Original title: "Somos gente honrada"


(Spain) A Filmax Intl. release of a Vaca Films, El Terrat, Persona Non Grata Pictures production in collaboration with ICIC, ICAA, , TV3, TVE, Xunta de Galicia. Produced by Emma Lustres, Jose Corbacho. Co-producers, Antonio Ferreira, Tathiani Sacilotto. Executive producers, Borja Pena, Toni Carrizosa.


Directed by Alejandro Marzoa. Screenplay, Miguel Angel Blanca, Juan Cruz, Marzoa. Camera (color, widescreen), Arnau Valls Colomer; editors, Sofia Escude, David Gallart; music, Sergio Moure; production designer, Curru Garabal; costume designer, Eva Camino; sound (Dolby Digital), Vasco Pimental; sound designer, Marc Bech; casting, Irene Roque.


Miguel de Lira, Paco Tous, Unaz Ugalde, Marisol Membrillo, Manuel Lozano, Manuela Velles, Xose Manuel Olveira, Antonio Duran, Axel Fernando.

More Film

  • BAFTA headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London

    BAFTA Undertakes Major Renovation of Its London Headquarters

    BAFTA has undertaken a major renovation of its London headquarters that will double the building’s capacity and increase space devoted to the British academy’s programs to promote skills training and new talent. Work has already begun on the $31 million overhaul, which is expected to take two years. In the interim, BAFTA will relocate its [...]

  • Andhadhun

    Booming Digital Lifts Eros Indian Film Distribution Giant

    Eros International, India’s largest and most controversial film distributor, says that its digital revenues now outstrip conventional theatrical and syndication revenues. Its Eros Now streaming platform claims 18.8 million paying subscribers. The New York-listed company reported annual results that were distorted by multiple adjustments to presentation. Reported revenues in the year to end of March [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Second Huayi Brothers Film Is Canceled as Company's Losses Mount

    Still reeling from the cancellation of the theatrical release of its blockbuster “The Eight Hundred,” production studio Huayi Brothers has been hit with another setback: Its comedy “The Last Wish” has also been quietly pulled from China’s summer lineup. Both films have fallen afoul of China’s increasingly heavy-handed censors. The unwelcome development comes as Huayi [...]

  • Sean AstinCritics' Choice Awards, Arrivals, Los

    Film News Roundup: Sean Astin Cast in 'Mayfields Game,' 'Charming the Hearts of Men'

    In today’s film news roundup, Sean Astin gets two roles, two “Peanuts” movies are set for release, “One Last Night” gets distribution and Brian De Palma gets honored. CASTINGS Sean Astin has been cast in a pair of upcoming feature films: “Mayfield’s Game” opposite Mira Sorvino and “Charming The Hearts of Men” opposite Kelsey Grammer. Astin [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content