Film & TV

Spanish Film Festival Review: May God Save Us

As thousands begin arriving in Madrid for a visit from Pope Benedict, two police investigators must find and stop a serial killer who is stalking the city.

May God Save Us is an interesting take on a murder investigation thriller. I have seen similar mismatched detectives in American movies, but the storyline and eventual realisation of the two detectives is refreshing.

Pope Benedict is visiting Madrid, with thousands of pilgrims from all over the world in town to greet him. Protests are also taking place, boiling over as tempers flare in an already hot city. Police inspectors Javier Alfaro (Roberto Àlamo) and Luis Velarde (Antonio de la Torre) attend the brutal murder of an elderly woman. After investigating another case they realise a serial killer is at work. With tourists visiting and increasing media attention, a serial killer is the last thing the authorities want.

As the body count grows, Alfaro and Velarde are ordered to catch the murderer quickly. The two detectives are very poorly matched: Alfaro is a hot-head and Velarde is a perfectionist with an awkward stutter. As the pair chase the killer through the streets of central Madrid, the need to find the killer becomes urgent. Both men have their own problems outside of work and, as they work on their case, they realise there are similarities between themselves and the serial killer.

I would have enjoyed this film very much if it were not for its length. I have seen other films two hours and longer, but this film seemed to drag due to the overemphasis on the backstories of the two detectives. The backstories were necessary but not, perhaps, in so much detail.

The characterisations of the two main actors are well-developed. Both are totally believable and had an intriguing love/hate relationship which developed as the plot unwound. I could not separate the two, talent-wise. They were perfectly teamed and each contributed powerful performances.

May God Save Us is an intriguing thriller with some unexpected twists and certainly worth a watch if you enjoy the thriller genre.

Reviewed by Barry Hill
Twitter: @kinesguy

Rating out of 10:  7

May God Save us will screen again on 4 May for the Spanish Film Festival, running exclusively from 26 April to 14 May 2017 at the Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas.

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