Santiago Zannou’s “Alacrán enamorado” [Eng. Title: Scorpion in Love] is an action-packed and star-studded romantic drama based on Carlos Bardem’s novel of the same name.
Julián ‘Scorpion’ López (Álex González) and best friend Luis (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) belong to a violent neo-Nazi gang whose ideologue is a right-wing ‘thinker’ named Solís (Javier Bardem). The duo enrol in a boxing gym for obvious reasons, but Julián, from a troubled working class family, nevertheless possesses basic human qualities like loyalty and a sense of fair play. Combined with the world-view and discipline imparted by coach Carlomonte (Carlos Bardem) and assistant Pedro (Hovik Keuchkerian), Julián turns a new leaf and gradually distances himself from the gang’s activities. He also falls in love with beautiful dark-skinned Alyssa (Judith Diakhate), a staff member at the gym. But the gang want him back and will go to lengths to persuade, and even threaten with consequences if he doesn’t break his relationship with Alyssa, and on one occasion will also follow and brutally assault her in an alleyway. But they only help to make the couple’s love stronger, and Julián will take the matter up directly with Solís himself…
The film is reasonably well made, and it sure helps to have the likes of Javier Bardem around to enhance the production’s quality. He gives as fine and authentic a performance as he always does, even if it is unusual to find him in a restrained, low-key role for a change. The rest of the cast, including lead actors Álex González and the gorgeous Judith Diakhate interpret their characters convincingly. I’ve seen Ms. Diakhate in one other film before (The Night of the Sunflowers) and her performance in that film was memorable too. For her talent, she ought to be doing more films than she is at the moment.
Which brings me to one of my pet gripes with mainland European film industry, and particularly Spain – they’ve been absorbing different ethnic groups for decades, but it seems that they still need to justify casting actors of a different race in a main role. More often than not, there’s a racial undercurrent in films they appear in – a positive message it might be, but patronising nonetheless. I understand my point of view may not be universally acclaimed during the present economic climate, but it requires pointing out. Despite my minor misgiving, the simplistic plot, and the slightly overdone post-production, the film is worth watching for those in a mood for easy viewing.
The Nudity: Judith Diakhate and Álex González
There are two fairly long scenes with Judith Diakhate and Álex González that show sex and nudity – more of the former, because the scenes are dimly lit and the actors appear almost as silhouettes, but it is also plain to see that they’re completely nude for the most part. There’s a blu-ray version out at the time of my posting, but I doubt if that’ll show any further detail than my DVD.