El Niño (2014) Poster

(I) (2014)

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A remarkable and highly recommended film for action lovers , being stunningly directed by Daniel Monzon
ma-cortes28 March 2015
A nice Spanish thriller/action film featuring a fine cast , interesting screenplay and thrilling story ; dealing with a small-time trafficker working in the Gibraltar Straits . Studio Canal Plus and Fox released 'El Niño' punched Biggest Spanish Bow of 2014 , it had multiple box office winds its favor . Being based on real events , in fact these problems in the Strait of Gibraltar actually happen , as there abounds dope dealers , smugglers , drug lords , who carry out a dirty and dark work into a powerful machinery . As it is set in the Gibraltar Straits, which moves 500 tons of drugs a year between Morocco , Gibraltar and Spain . El Niño (Jesus Castro) is a young boy who lives in La Línea de la Concepción , close to Rock of Gibraltar , repairing and testing motorboats . After a night of party with his friend El Compi (Carroza) , they meet Halil(Saed Chatiby), a young Moroccan who has an uncle , Rachid (Moussa Maaskri), an important drug baron . Convinced by El Compi and helped by Halil , El Niño accepts to be a drug mule , crossing it from África to Spain in a motorboat but being pursued by the police helicopter . In the opposite side of the law is Jesús (Luis Tosar) , a two-fisted cop , his suspicious chief Vicente (Sergi López) and being supported by his colleagues Eva (Barbara Lennie) and Sergio (Eduard Fernandez) , all of them looking for El Inglés (Ian McShane) , a notorious drug dealer who operates in the Rock of Gibraltar . Meanwhile , El Niño falls in love for Muslim Amina (Mariam Bachir) , Halil's sister .

This exciting film packs noisy action , thrills , emotion , drama , car as well as motorboat chases , helicopter nocturnal pursuits and good pace . This is one of the most ambitious action thrillers ever from Spain , with spectacular action scenes concerning a small-time Moroccan drug runner speed boats across the Straits . Lavishly produced and intelligently written by Jorge Guerricaechevarría , Alex De La Iglesia's ordinary ; 'El Niño' marks a new hit for Telecinco Cinema and Fox , getting a big success , as it punched the best opening frame for any Spanish film this year , with a €2.9 million ($3.81 million) first weekend . The film was one of the most anticipated in a year where Spanish cinema should beat box office records . This intriguing flick concerns about two alternating stories that end up being the same along with inter-crossed roles filled with internal conflicts and ambitions . Very good acting by Luis Tosar as a veteran police officer and pretty well a young newcomer , Jesus Castro , in his film debut . Although overlong , it lasts more than two hours and some , the picture is very well realized , it has splendid action scenes with expert stunts and similarly to a USA production but without C.G.I .

Adequate and atmospheric musical score by Roque Baños (Fragiles , Machinist , Sexy beast , 800 bullets). The soundtrack is enjoyable , fits perfectly with the action scenes , and including Andalucia and Morocco sounds . Appropriate cinematography by Carlos Gusi (Torrente , Box 507) who photographs wonderfully the exteriors and interiors , being shot on location in Almeria , Tarifa , Gibraltar , Ceuta and Tangier , Morocco . The motion picture was well directed by Daniel Monzon , a former cinema reviewer , he undertakes a skill and agreeable filmmaking with some spectacular images such as the motorboat and helicopter scenes . Daniel Monzón was offered financing if he shot the movie in English but he refused because the story didn't make sense in English . He previously directed sword and witchery/fantasy (Heart of warrior) , suspense (The Kovak box), and wrote the thriller titled ¨Desvio a Paraiso¨ ; his greatest hit was the prison movie , ¨Celda 211¨ with Luis Tosar . Fox-distributed Telecinco Cinema production "El Niño," part of Studiocanal's Toronto slate , it has punched the best opening frame for any Spanish film this year . Along with fellow thriller "La Isla Minima" by Alberto Rodríguez , result to be two of the best recent works in Spanish cinema . Rating : Better than average . Indispensable and essential to see on the big screen . Well worth watching . The yarn will appeal to action enthusiasts and thriller genre fans .
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Action-Thriller in the Gibraltar stretch
the_dipsta3 September 2014
This is the sort of film that gets me excited about the level of talent that is present in Spain. El Niño is a Cops and Robbers (well, Cops and Drug Mules!) movie in inimitable Spanish style. It revolves around a couple of small town hoods, El Niño (Jesus Castro) and his pal El Compi (Jesus Carroza) who want to get into the drug smuggling business in the Gibraltar stretch.

One boat ride across this stretch is all they need to smuggle their drugs into Europe from Africa. Of course, they have obstacles in the shape of Jesus (Luis Tosar) and Eva (Barbara Lennie), two cops who are trying to crack down the drug smuggling business as they chase El Inglés (Ian McShane) a Englishman who's a Gibraltar kingpin in this business, and who will cross paths with the young hoods.

The tale carries a steady pace, with some exciting and some I-don't-know-how-they-shot-it action scenes that are truly thrilling. It still has the usual tropes of a love story blooming amidst the chaos, a disgruntled cop who can't find his crook. But the film also restrains itself when necessary and has a formal beauty that matches its grand storyline.

It's truly ambitious cinema and well worth the price of admission.
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Spanish drug trafficking crime thriller
t-dooley-69-3869163 April 2015
El Nino lives in La Linea just outside the Rock of Gibraltar; he earns a meagre living repairing other peoples' luxury boats. One night his best mate Compi talks him into doing something to earn a bit of extra cash and he introduces him to Halil. Hali's uncle, Rashid, is a big time drug smuggler and he uses the short route across the straits of Gibraltar to get the drugs across from Africa. El Nino and co are soon put to work dodging the cops on the dangerous run.

We also have the police in the shape of duo Jesus and Alma who have been after these guys for two years. They have been focusing on El Ingles (Ian McShane) who operates on UK territory from the Rock and is outside their jurisdiction. But the drug guys have more cash than is decent and are allegedly bribing the cops to get the job done - badly. We also have the affairs of the heart that are at the centre of the main protagonist's lives and more than a fair dose of action. This is not high octane but it is full of thrills and at a run time that exceeds two hours it is impressive that I was kept hooked until the very end.

This is from director Daniel Monzon who also brought us 'Cell 211' which was rather good too. If he keeps up the quality with films like this then I think he will have a very bright future. In Spanish with some English and with good sub titles - this is one for those who like a bit of action but also a good helping of well construed plot to accompany the thrills.
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Great thriller that fall short from perfect
abisio7 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
El Nino (the Kid) is another European thriller was directed by Daniel Monzon whose lately delivered the excellent CELL 211 (winner of the Spanish Goyas; equivalent to the Oscars) and the very solid THE KOVAK BOX. Comparing his previous efforts; t is easy to realize that he growing as a director in every movie.

As in the previous movies; character development and social aspects; are more important than empty action; violence or special effects.

Everything happens around the Strait Of Gibraltar; a narrow strait (9 miles) that separates, several cultures; Morocco, Ceuta (Spain) and Gibraltar (controlled by the British). The place is the used by to traffic Hashish (and harder drugs) to Europe.

Several characters cross paths; El Nino (an extreme, no fear boat mechanic and driver played by first time actor Jesús Castro) and his friend El Compi (Jesús Carroza; really funny and likable ) team up with Halil (Saed Chatiby another first timer; also very funny, likable and with a very interesting acting rage ) and start moving hashish from Morocco to Spain.

None of them are really criminals; just young people living on the Spanish crisis or Morocco misery trying to make some money to solve their own miseries.

On the other side; Jesus (Luis Tosar) obsessed to catch a British drug dealer who is always ahead of him and is destroying his career and reputation. He and his best mate Sergio (another outstanding work from Eduard Fernandez) are assigned to flight every day on an helicopter to catch speed boats crossing the strait.

Monzon keeps the character pretty realistic. The young criminal are far from experienced but feel nobody will catch them; and the cops do not risk their lives too much (as an American movies). They are just underpaid government employees. Corruption is everywhere and they have no means to do anything.

There is not a lot of action or violence in the movie; but the few sequences are really very good. The first boat chase; builds tension and suspense; but the second; is perfectly crafted; none of them seems to be just digital post production.

As good as the acting, environment and setup; the movie loses points in because an excessive length (2h 10 minutes) and the limited acting skills of Jesus Franco. The guy is fine and is able to carry the movie but a little more rage could have helped the character.

In brief; a very solid thriller; that requires certain knowledge of that part of the world but pretty atypical
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Flawed thriller
Leofwine_draca14 January 2016
EL NINO is a flawed Spanish thriller from expert director Daniel Monzon (THE KOVAK BOX) who creates a stylish and fine-looking movie saddled with, unfortunately, a somewhat meandering and overlong plot. The narrative clocks in at around two hours and fifteen minutes in length, but at least forty-five minutes of that running time could readily have been excised in order to make a better paced, more exciting film.

The setting is Gibraltar, which looks exceptionally beautiful thanks to the cinematography, and the subject is the drug smuggling route to Morocco and back. There's a tableau of characters, the best of whom are the investigating drug agents led by Luis Tosar (SLEEP TIGHT), but the bad news is that they're off-screen for long stretches of time, leaving the film in the hands of a less experienced cast. Instead we follow youthful drug smuggler Nino and his attempts to make a fortune from the trade.

The problem the film has is that Nino just isn't a very interesting character and the guy playing him is a bit wooden. He's very self-centred and out for what he can get, and the actor just doesn't have the charisma to make him likable at all. A romantic sub-plot between him and a Moroccan girl is almost unwatchable, it's so dull. Monzon does shoot a handful of chase scenes typically involving boats and helicopters which are expertly done, so it's a shame he couldn't focus more on the thrills rather than the padding; if he'd done so then EL NINO was shaping up to be a minor classic of its genre. As it stands, it's just average.
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"A twisted Gibraltar Straits drug trade love story"
peter-eldon14 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
When the wickedest pair of eye brows meets the coolest set of starring ice cold eyes in film history your up for one hell of a Spanish drug duel in this Spanish speaking action drama by Director and Writer Daniel Monzón. With the beautiful scenes of Gibraltar and Morocco in the background, some really well shot and cool actions scenes with a tricky helicopter high speed boat chase and an awesome car pursuit through the city and beaches you sure got everything you need for speed. A Spanish story about love, loyalty, dreams, ambition and the way the world works all packed in a strained and brutal ongoing drug trade between Gibraltar and Morocco!

/ Peter A Eldon. 2014-11-12.
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Bland and uninspired
movies-by-db7 August 2015
I went into this film having seen some of the directors other work. I loved "Celda 211" and the crazy adventure-fantasy "El Corazon del Guerrero" (absolute must see). So I had pretty high hopes.

I was however slightly disappointed. A pretty bland and in my opinion uninspired film. Yes, it had some great action sequences, even though I wouldn't go as far as to call this an action movie, and some great locations and visuals. But it was a pretty routine rise and fall story of a trio of young friends wanting to make it in the big boys business. For me it was lacking the tension this type of 'cops and criminals' film needs. An edge and rawness that "Celda 211" most definitely did have.

The best parts for me were amongst the policemen and -women. They were also the best played out and parts acted. Louis Tosar is always great and I hope we will (and already are) be seeing more of him in international productions. It was the young ones that didn't quite nail it. A trio of pretty simply written characters (even reminding me of early John Woo characters, like in "A Better Tomorrow"). The Halil character was just to young and innocent looking for the part, the overzealous Compi was the cliché dumb guy and sometimes pretty annoying and the steelblue eyed Nino didn't really have that many expressions and came over pretty wooden. Even when he meets and eventually courts the beautiful Amina, his demeanor doesn't change at all. All this plus an underused (permanently hidden behind sunglasses) Ian McShane made a potentially great story a disappointing view.

Comparable in subject matter but way more exhilarating are "The Business" and the recent "Gibraltar".
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