What a debut! The Fury of a Patient Man (Tarde para la ira, 2016) is Raúl Arévalo’s debut film, which won four Goya Awards for Best Film, Best New Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor (Manolo Solo). The Goya is a film award in Spain that is the equivalent to the Oscars. Perhaps the name Raúl Arévalo might sound familiar, and that is because he is a well-known actor, notable for his work in AzulOscuroCasiNegro (Dark Blue Almost Black, 2006, dir. Daniel Sánchez Arévalo), El camino de los ingleses (aka: Summer Rain, 2006, dir. Antonio Banderas), and Los amantes pasajeros (aka: I’m So Excited!, 2013, dir. Pedro Almodóvar).
The Fury of a Patient Man starts with a shocking robbery. We are in the backseat, seeing the anxiety and adrenaline that the getaway driver Curro (Luis Callejo) experiences. The alarm goes and the thieves cannot make it to the car, Curro has to go by himself. He gets caught and is sentenced to eight years in prison. Meanwhile, Ana (Ruth Díaz) – his girlfriend and mother of their child – waits for him. She works at a bar run by her brother Juanjo (Raúl Jiménez). Here, the protagonist of the story José (Antonio de la Torre) is introduced. He is a frequent client of the bar and a friend of the owner. José seems to like Ana in his own quiet way. However, later on, we discover that there is more than attraction. He seeks revenge and she is just the missing link that connects all the pieces.
The film is brilliant, and the narrative leaves you unsettled the whole time. The pauses of the camera and sound are key to the suspense and thrill of the film. Sound also plays an important role in this work, as it intensifies events and connotes the fury of José. For instance, sound accompanied by the point of view, reveal José’s thoughts when he thinks of killing his first victim. The character José goes into much more depth than just taking revenge and being the quiet polite upper-middle-class man. The viewer understands why José is so determined through details on what happened to him. He waits eight years to execute his plan, which actually seems not that of a plan, as he just goes with the spur-of-the-moment and is lucky that the police is quite slow to pursue him. In order to find the people he wants to take revenge on, José asks for the help of Curro – or better said – he demands Curro’s collaboration.
The Fury of a Patient Man is a film worth watching. Not only because it surprises us with its alternative narrative divided into sections per person, but also because the development of the protagonist’s character, which reminded me of Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men (2007, dir. Coen brothers) without the odd hairstyle and a little bit less psycho. Perhaps these angry Spanish men should be often incorporated into revenge thrillers, as they seem to be an intriguing figure.
Original title: Tarde para la ira (literary: evening for rage).