Entertainment » Movies

El Angel

by Roger Walker-Dack
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Nov 9, 2018
'El Angel'
'El Angel'  

In "El Angel," Luis Ortega' s dramatized intriguing take on the Argentinian real-life convicted murderer, rapist, kidnapper and thief Carlos Robledo Puch, he uses all the unwarranted violence to glorify the teenage killer. In the movie Carlitos, (Lorenzo Ferro) as he is called, is a baby-faced curly-haired pretty high school student who has already become something of a successful burglar when he hooks up with fellow student Ramón (Chino Darin).

The latently homosexual Carlitos is attracted to the girl-chasing older boy, but aside from some lustful looks and heavy breathing, nothing happens. However, later on, it is "straight" Ramon who is happy to provide sexual services to an older gay businessman in return for him getting him an audition for a TV talent show.

Ramon's parents are career criminals and are more than happy to not only teach an eager Carlitos all about guns, but soon partner with him in a robbery of a weapons store, which results in a pile of cash, but also means that Carlitos is now fully armed. It's not long after when, in the middle of a robbery, he needlessly kills his first victim; here, as with all the others that follow, he shows no sign of remorse or regret, and Ortega makes no attempt to add any sort of explanation.

This glorification of this young man who committed the majority of his violent crimes during a year-long spree at the tender age of 19 is a tough one to swallow. We never really learn about his drive or psyche or his callous attitude to taking life after life, and the camera seems to never want to go beyond the fact he was a very pretty boy. The film focuses on the how, and never bothers with the why.

Ferro, making his movie acting debut, is pitch-perfect as the cold-hearted young killer. Also in the cast are talented veteran actors Cecilia Roth and Mercedes Morán, who contribute real gravitas as the boy's mothers.

"El Angel" is produced by Pedro Almodóvar and his brother Agustín Almodóvar, and their touches are evident throughout, with some very stylized camera work and a superb soundtrack.

Carlitos... also known as The Angel of Death... is still languishing in prison in Buenos Aires after 46 years, which shows the severity of his crimes. Despite its misguided attempt to (maybe) make us think better of this serial killer, in the end, it seems to justify his punishment.

Roger Walker-Dack, a passionate cinephile, is a freelance writer, critic and broadcaster and the author/editor of three blogs. He divides his time between Miami Beach and Provincetown.


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