The Humor in Hypocrisy: Here’s the Deal & To Kill a Man

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By Raychel Lean, Miami Future Cinema Critic

If a middle-aged Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were ever to go fishing and find a packet of blow on the beach, it might play out somewhat like Here’s the Deal. Beneath Suso and Manuel’s learned adult sensibilities, there’s that flicker of mischief. But – wait – is that actually… cocaine? Hold on a moment while they put their glasses on. Yep, ten kilos of it.
Alejandro Marzoa‘s debut, set in northern Spain, is not unlike “Breaking Bad” in that it has an entertaining angle on an over-explored topic. His characters’ idiotic yet charming urge to experiment fuels the decision to become “associates” in a “construction” business, through which they discover it’s not too late to have a mid-life crime-spree.

Here’s the Deal, by Alejandro Marzoa

        Marzoa creates a hypocrisy and absurdity that’s amusing to watch. When family ties tangle with drug deals, it becomes evident that  – like cocaine – large amounts of cash can mess with a brain. Although public advocators of a clean lifestyle, they separately morph into the kid of guy they wouldn’t want their daughter to marry or their son to become. Gradually, the contents of a blue sports bag intoxicate a childhood friendship until a decision must be made: to deal or not to deal?

Here’s the Deal, directed by Alejandro Marzoa
 A different kind of poison is explored in To Kill a Man. Revenge grows to sinister heights in Alejandro Fernández Almendras’ third feature film, which not only wonders about what drives a “good” man to kill, but also delves into what happens after he does. When gentle middle-aged Jorge (Daniel Candia) chooses to defend his family’s honor by following feeling as opposed to law, he lands in a place of ethical obscurity. 
To Kill a Man, directed by Alejandro Fernández Almendras
 After years of tolerating evil “pranks” played on himself and his family and receiving only vague help from the police, he quietly snaps. Passive aggression is aggression after all, and, as said by director Alejandro Fernández Almendras in the Q&A after the screening, “We’re not made to kill people.”
Almendras plays with the empathy of his audience, as their pity for a desperate man is stretched until it can go no further. Sinister and sad, To Kill a Man ponders what’s left to do when authorities will no longer help. The film’s low budget of $200,000 is evident at times, yet its simplicity doesn’t take away from its influence. As Almendras puts it, “There was only one shot to get it right.”

To Kill a Man, by Alejandro Fernández Almendras


Jaie Laplante

Jaie Laplante is the Miami Film Festival's executive director and director of programming. Learn more about Jaie on Programmers.