Review: All the Names of God
- The heart of Madrid is about to be blown to smithereens in one of the most frenetic and emotional films yet by Daniel Calparsoro, starring Luis Tosar in another collaboration with the director
In Spain, everyone remembers that image of the Gran Vía, the country’s most famous street and the most important commercial thoroughfare of its capital, completely and astonishingly empty, being traversed by a disconcerted Eduardo Noriega in Alejandro Amenábar’s second feature, Open Your Eyes. If closing off that crowded avenue to pedestrians and traffic was a great achievement back in 1997, something similar was achieved by Daniel Calparsoro while filming one of the tensest scenes in All the Names of God [+see also:
film profile], another example of heart-pounding action by the man responsible for To Steal from a Thief [+see also:
interview: Daniel Calparsoro
film profile] and Sky High [+see also:
interview: Daniel Calparsoro
film profile], which is being released in Spanish movie theatres on Friday 15 September, distributed by Tripictures.
Once again, as in those two aforementioned films, Galician thesp Luis Tosar heads up the cast of one of Calparsoro’s movies, this time flanked by Inma Cuesta, Nourdin Batán, Roberto Enríquez, Patricia Vico and Fernando Cayo. The drama begins with a terrorist attack on the airport, from which the main character, Santi, a taxi driver enduring the intense pain of a recent bereavement, miraculously escapes unscathed. When this hero accidentally helps one of the victims, the latter takes him hostage: what ensues is a veritable obstacle race, a fight for survival, when they affix a huge quantity of explosives to the poor man’s body, which will explode if he stops walking… around the very centre of Madrid.
Such an idea – devised by screenwriter Gemma Ventura (53 días de invierno) – provides Calparsoro with plenty of ammo to demonstrate his narrative vigour and to pump the viewer’s adrenaline levels. After all, this is a profession that he has honed tremendously after his most recent forays into a genre that now constitutes his comfort zone. And so, although the believability of what we see does get blown to pieces at certain moments of the storyline, and although, when viewed as a whole, the movie can even seem like a huge advert for the efficacy of Spain’s forces of law and order, All the Names of God ends up being highly enjoyable because of its frenetic pace and the clutch of locations that will be familiar to the ordinary Spaniard.
However, above all, this feature contains an ingredient that had been lacking in the director’s latest works: sky-high levels of emotion. Thus, the external conflict of its main characters perfectly matches the inner one tormenting these people, trapped by a cruel fate from which they attempt to break away – much like they are trying to get away from those fanatical terrorists blinded by their religious beliefs. And although Calparsoro’s deranged camera sometimes seems possessed in its sheer twitchiness, overall, this movie is successful thanks to its perfectly oiled blend of political critique, emotional tension and a group of characters we can easily empathise with.
All the Names of God is a production by Todos los Nombres de Dios AIE, and was co-produced by Tripictures, Second Gen Pictures, Wanda Visión and Fasten Films. Its international sales are overseen by Latido Films. Following its theatrical run, it will be available on Prime Video.
(Translated from Spanish)
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