Dir/scr. Agustin Diaz Yanes. Sp/Mex 2008. 130 mins
Between heist jobs and blow jobs, the four kick-ass chicks hell-bent on robbery and revenge in Solo Quiero Caminar hardly come up for air as Agustin Diaz Yanes unleashes them on the Mexican mafia. Despite some smartly-executed executed action scenes and some fine photography, however, the film’s merciless pace comes at the expense of plot and characterisation.
Solo Quiero Caminar (the title of Paco de Lucia’s famous flamenco-jazz ballad) sets four of Spain’s biggest female stars loose in the visually arresting and often brutal world of New Mexican Cinema where they pit their wits against an army of sordid stereotypical machos. As the gutsy leads wriggle through tunnels, crack safes, perform flying drop kicks, and are punched, throttled and stabbed, you have to ask if this is what Tarantino might do if he got his hands on Charlie’s Angels.
The female leads and presence of Diego Luna should have seen this do better in Spain, where it took just $850,000 in its first two weeks of release although it has notched up six Goya nominations in all the major categories and can look forward to a boost. Mexico should see an improvement in the film’s natural young male demographic (it opened there December 12), and specialised sales internationally should follow suit.
The action opens in Andalucia as the four women- Gloria (Victoria Abril), Aurora (Ariadna Gil), Ana (Elena Anaya) and Paloma (Pilar Lopez de Ayala) - are poised to rip off Russian gangsters in Spain by boring through walls and into a safe. Things go awry and Aurora is left behind, receiving a lengthy jail sentence. Paloma falls in with a visiting Mexican mafia delegation, which includes a garishly pimpish crime boss, Felix (Jose Maria Yazpik in fine form) and his good-gangster side-kick, the baby-faced Gabriel (a pleasantly brooding Diego Luna). In Spain, meanwhile, Gloria and Ana hatch a plot to spring Aurora from jail.
Reunited in Mexico, the girls plot a new heist. As the action hurtles energetically along, there’s a bloodbath, sex between the ice-cold Aurora and the silent Gabriel, another bloodbath and a reel of movie references, strewn about with about as much grace as product placements (from The Wild Bunch to Baby Face Nelson and Le Samouraï).
Partially redeemed by slick cinematography - there are some glorious tracking shots - and able performances by the leads, albeit in scarcely credible roles, the film ultimately loses both its way and the viewer as the convoluted heist plot takes one turn too many.
Antena 3 Films
Antena 3 Films, Madrid
Tel: + 34 91
Jose Manuel Lorenzo
Pilar Lopez de Ayala
Jose Maria Yazpik.