With Unit 7, Alberto Rodríguez paid homage to his native Seville whilst producing a fine urban thriller. Now he does the same for the marshlands of Andalucia. Marshland is noirishly tense, its tight focus on character, its realism, its sense of place and its social critique adding up to a grippingly intense whole – and that’s not to mention it’s satisfyingly twisting plotline.

It’s 1980. Juan (Javier Gutiérrez) and rookie Pedro (Raúl Arévalo) have travelled from Madrid to Spain’s south to investigate the disappearance of two sisters. Soon the sisters’ bodies are discovered and they enlist the help of isolated local Jesús (Salva Reina). When a drunken man stumbles into the hotel seeking justice for his own dead girlfriend, a pattern of deaths starts to emerge.

Marshland is rooted in realism, deriving not only from research but from insider knowledge. Performances are classy across the board, though of the leads it’s Gutiérrez who stands out. The script uses the thriller format to lock together the personal, the social and the political in a portrait of an isolated community, and a whole society, in flux.

Jonathan Holland
The Hollywood Reporter


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