Reaching outside your comfort zone to find happiness and success can be both frightening and rewarding, and those accomplishments can either be satisfying and fulfilling, or come at a steep price with daunting consequences. First-time Spanish director Alejandro Marzoa courageously stretched outside his experiences to make the realistic and relatable comedy, ‘Here’s the Deal,’ and was met with gratifying results in the believability of his characters. The film dauntingly explored the uncharacteristic and damaging extremes two fathers are led to take to provide for their families, proving the job they acquired was far more dangerous and unrewarding.
While the movie is set in Spain, American audiences were surely able to relate to the lead characters’ pondering on whether they should resort to immoral activities to help care for their loved ones, during the comedy’s screening at the 31st Miami International Film Festival. The film, which premiered on Monday, March 10, 2014 at the Regal South Beach Cinemas, was included in the Lexus Ibero-American Opera Prima Competition, in recognition of its honest, emotional exploration of the financial and emotional hurdles people are forced to overcome in times of economic despair.
‘Here’s the Deal’ follows two longtime, middle-aged family men in Galicia, Spain, as they contend with the economic recession that has fallen over their country. The gloomy, depressed Suso (Paco Tous) is a former newspaper vendor who has fallen on hard times, whose once-flourishing newsstand is now boarded up. He is forced to depend on loans from his father-in-law (the late Xosé Manuel Olveira) to support his long-suffering wife, Carmen (Marisol Membrillo) and their son. Suso’s best friend, the widowed and struggling real estate salesman Manuel (Miguel de Lira), meanwhile is contending with the fact that his corporation has failed, and his latest condos aren’t selling.
The two friends think their luck has changed when they find 10 kilos of cocaine wash up on their favorite fishing beach. As the two struggle with fear, unfamiliarity and genuine ethics about what to do with the drugs, they decide to try to sell the drugs themselves at local nightclubs to try to make money. Manuel decides to divulge their discovery to Luis (Unax Ugalde), the police officer his daughter Julia (Manuela Velles) is dating, after Suso raises concerns. Instead of turning the cocaine in, Luis decides to instead to make a deal with drugs dealer Emilio (Antonio Duran) to figure out how to sell the rest of the stash. As a result, a strain starts to grow not only in Manuel and Suso’s friendship, but also in Suso’s marriage and on Manuel’s mental health.
As a filmmaker making is inaugural directorial effort, Marzoa exhilaratingly created diverse, distinct lead characters in Suso and Manuel, who are already unable to handle the everyday obstacles of contemporary society before they find the cocaine in the water. The two seemingly mismatched close friends who appear to have different needs and wants in life-Suso is determined to find respectable work to support his family so he can put them first, while Manuel is content on not putting in his full emotional effort into his work and family-but both see the drugs as a life-changing opportunity.
Suso is plagued by his conscious, as he doesn’t feel it’s right supplying drugs to young kids, as he doesn’t want his son to become part of the culture. Meanwhile, Manuel is only driven by monetary greed, and only focuses on how dealing the drugs would once again bring him the glory of having money and status in society. The two are determined not to let their new endeavor ruin or hurt their friendship, but after harrowingly risking their lives, reputations and other relationships, they go on an emotional journey together and realize what’s truly important to them.
Tous and de Lira were well paired together in ‘Here’s the Deal,’ as the two both grippingly and realistically emphasized their characters’ different views on how to best provide for their families, but were still intent on protecting and supporting each other. Suso is captivatingly portrayed as internally struggling with how his family, particularly his father-in-law, perceives him, especially since he’s financially struggling since his newsstand closed. While his character is weary and hesitant to sell the cocaine, Tous heart-wrenchingly shows how Suso is gullibly pulled into the dangerous world by his friend, who promises to know what he’s doing.
Intriguingly offsetting Suso’s reluctance to sell the drugs, Manuel immediately gives into the lure of what selling the drugs could do for them. De Lira initially plays into his character’s awe over the money and power dealing the drugs, but smartly develops his character into becoming more perceptive of the strain his covert actions are having on his life. Both actors smartly emphasized their respective characters’ financial struggles, which led them to turn to drug dealing, but came to understand the pain they were inflicting on their loved ones, who they were supposed to be helping, with their actions.
‘Here’s the Deal’ is an emotionally captivating comedy that powerfully and memorably focuses on the extreme measures and actions people take in order to do what they think is best to provide for their families. Marzoa generated two very distinct lead characters who have bonded over their struggles in their professional and personal lives, but have different attitudes about how to improve their situations. Tous grippingly focused on his character’s conscious and questioning of their drug dealing, while de Lira intriguingly emphasized Manuel’s drive for money and success, no matter what he had to do to get it. The two actors showed an emotional and captivating journey of the extreme lengths people are forced to take in desperate times, and how true friends and family are the only people they can actually count on.