The Spanish film industry may be in choppy waters at the moment, having apparently lost all sense of direction if the recent Goya Awards are anything to go by, but it can still conjure up some unrivalled cinematic feasts - and I don't just mean Almodovar.
Paco Cabezas is a genius in the making - think of him as a cross between Tarantino and Guy Ritchie with attitude - and Carne de Neon, a Spanish movie filmed in Argentina, is a fun film from start to finish. It has its weaknesses, the humour is a little overplayed in the first half before the tragicomedy kicks in - and some of the humour doesn't translate well. For example, is it really funny for a man to be seen moving from brothel to brothel trying to sell his young children into prostitution?
Overall, however, the sharp editing and circular storyline - very reminiscent of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels - and the high-octane action sequences make up for a lot. There's some great eye-candy too in Macarena Gomez and Blanca Suarez. Mario Casas in the lead role is superb. The movie is essentially about a young man who tries to impress his mother by starting a successful business - which just happens to be a brothel.
Macarena and Blanca
This is a director who I suspect will reach his peak in about two movies time - keep an eye open for the name - Paco Cabezas.