El Abogado (2016)

*. The title just means The Lawyer, and it’s comforting to know that the legal profession is held in the same high estimation in Spain as it is in the English-speaking world.
*. Cynicism? Yes, definitely. But times have been tough in Spain since the economic crisis adverted to here. It was one of the countries most deeply affected, and the impact has been pariticularly hard on young people. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hence what the contestants who are vying for a good corporate job have to go through in The Method. Or the young man in this short film, who has decided to turn to kidnapping.
*. The basic conceit is one familiar to American gangster films, where crime is seen as only being another form of business. And if you’re going to do something, why not make sure you do it right? A lawyer can help with this.
*. It’s really a one-joke film, as a lot of shorts are, which gets an extra boost from the current economic climate. Also interesting is the unmistakeable hint that the lawyer is not only without a moral compass but has a whiff of the demonic. This is an association that also has a long history.
*. At the end, do we think the lawyer was being coy in the earlier part of the film, only pretending to be shocked at his client’s modest proposal? Surely his next client will need similar assistance. And if there’s no ink in the pen, the contract can be signed in blood.

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