Real, The (El Reino) (2018): Sorogoyen’s Compelling Political Thriller

 

Antonio de la Torre is a politician caught in the act in The Realm.
Antonio de la Torre is a politician caught in the act in The Realm.

Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s The Realm (El Reino) is a compelling political thriller that, while particular in setting, strikes some more general tones in its urgent message.

The protagonist, Manuel Lopez Vidal (Antonio de la Torre), is an ambitious regional player known for his skills as a party fixer, and destined for a brilliant career.

He is also a family man, loving his wife Ines (Monica Lopez), and their grown-up daughter Nati (Maria de Nati).

The script, by the director regular collaborator Isabel Pena, have crafted a rather complex tale of a scandal that proves that Manuel is not invincible. In the course of the story, he’s struggling to overcome the consequences of years of sanctioned criminality while realizing that he might just be the designated fall guy.

Sorogoyen’s follow-up to May God Forgive Us is a fast-moving probe into of Spanish political corruption, which suggests that there’s fine line between rotten politicians and organized crime member

Part thriller, part morality tale, The Realm is elevated by a terrifically commanding performance from the reliable Antonio de la Torre, compensating at time for the rather crude and blunt story.

As noted, the issue of political corruption, especially in times of collective trust, broadens the scope of the Spanish-set movie.