2 September 1999 | Chris-564
Great film, worthy of wider release
"Barrio" is the sort of film that comes from the suburbs, does extremely well, and deserves to do so, too. The poster sums the film up very well: a jetski parked and chained to a lamppost in a suburb of Madrid, a good 170 miles from the sea. It seems to capture the very funny nature of the film, but also the tragedy of it all: there's absolutely no way that the jetski is going to get used, and similarly, Rai, Javi and Manu aren't going to get out of the suburbs and fulfill their full potential.
"Barrio" (meaning "neighbourhood" or "suburb") was well received in Spain, and definitely deserves to go on a wider release, but it probably won't, if you will forgive a little gripe about foreign film distribution. There's absolutely no way that films like "Jingle All the Way" and "Batman and Robin" should have loads of money poured into them and then be released only for people to find out they're dire, when films like this should be seen by many more people. Grrrr. I guess the point is that if you're a film distributor who happens to be reading this, wise up. And if you're somebody who wouldn't give a foreign language film a chance (unlikely you'd be reading this, but never mind) - you're missing out on far too much.
I was warned by many Spanish people that I wouldn't understand a lot of the dialogue, because a lot of it was in suburban slang - but strangely, I found it one of the easiest films to understand, possibly because most of the characters spoke rather slowly. It's hard to single out somebody for individual merit because the movie fits so well together, and one gets the impression it was a great collaborative effort. Certainly the acting is consistently impressive and the direction is great because you can't see joins, to quote Morcambe and Wise.
Added to all of this, the soundtrack is great; it provides a good flavour of Spanish music, without managing to sound clichéd or tired. There's even an impressive dancing goat. (Yes, even better than the goat in "Muertos de Risa"). What more could one want from a film?