All plans are simple… until they get complicated: El Niño review

After Cell 211, the Spanish director Daniel Monzon (Men’s Health Espana Best Cinema Director  2014 yesterday evening) is ready to show the world that if his work is marvellous in a one-small space set, it becomes absolutely terrific in an open-space one.

The great thing is we are not talking about a common open space, but about a part of land so interesting and so rich in nuances to seem almost mythic: three countries, two continents,  two such different ethnicities within a few miles of land and sea. In between just 9 miles of sea and Ceuta, this magic Spanish city on the Morocco coast, that Spaniards and Italians have begun to discover thanks to the fiction produced by Telecinco (they are also one of the movie producer)  El Principe.

Monzon new movie is a drug-trafficking-thriller set between Ceuta, Gibraltar and South Spain. In his “pelicula”, Monzon takes on a teenager’s involment in international drug smuggling.

What makes El Niño extremely great is its realism, made possible (as the director explained to us at the London Film Festival afternoon tea, in a lovely 40 minutes Italian – Spanish – English chat available soon) “by the people, cops and drug traffickers desire to tell and tell about themselves”.

Because El Niño doesn’t judge. There are not bad and good guys in the movie, just people with different lives and different reasons. It’s up to the audience to decide which feeling they feel for every character, in a strip of land where not all is black or white, right or wrong but where there are a lot of compromises for a greater good, often difficult to see.

Jesus (Louis Tosar) is a driver cop who has spent years failing to deliver to his bosses a major drugs haul. El Niño, “the Kid” (a great young newcomer, Jesus Castro, who will be one of the main character in the second season of the the aforementioned Spanish successfull series El Principe and who yesterday won the Men’s Health Espana Award as Actor Revelation of the Year for El Nino) and his mate El Compi, “the Buddy” (played by Jesus Carroza, Seven Virgins) work the fishing boats and dream of a better life. And we can easily imagine which will be their way for a better life.

With a marvellous Ian McShane (probably the only real bad guy as the English-man), El Niño captures the viewer and maintains the adrenaline at the maximum level until the credits, without a single minute of subsiding.

In the months before the release, the Spanish magazines have repeatedly likened the film to the tv series El Principe: or because they analyze an area (El Principe is a neighborhood of Ceuta where Spaniards and Moroccans live together more or less peacefully) rich of extraordinary nuances, or because they look deeply in the police compromises, or because they tell two impossible love stories that can not to be miss on screen, or because there is the betrayal by a close friend or, finally, reporting the words that gave us Daniel Monzon, because both their main characters (Jesus Castro in El Niño and Alex Gonzalez in El Principe) are two of the most beautiful Spanish faces today in circulation (Alez Gonzalez  yesterday evening won the Men’s Health Spain Award as Best Television Actor of the Year).

But what is clear at the end of Monzon‘s film is that El Niño is set within borders physically prohibited, borders that often even police dare not cross.

And this realism appears across the screen making deceive the audience to be hit by the waves of the Strait of Gibraltar or to hear the wind caused by the propellers of the helicopter in their hair.

And this is the secret to making El Niño one of the best films shown at the London Film Festival.


Soon our Daniel Monzon special interview while the video about the Men’s Health Espana Awards are on our or on our Twitter account.


“Police! The police is there!”

“Quiet, they are friend…friend as long as we give them their share”.



Mens Monzon e Castro

Daniel Monzon and Jesus Castro at Men’s Health Espana Awards


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