El mal ajeno is a drama about a medical doctor who mysteriously gets the power to heal after a patient’s relative commits suicide right in front of him. But each healing attempt costs one dear: when somebody gets healthier, somebody else gets sick.
This film is actually really good, and I didn’t expect that – the title is openly pretentious, and it cannot but bring certain suspicions to mind. In reality it’s closer to bitterly ironic, although not quite… Well, there’s a hint of something, that’s for sure.
The implementation is a serious, high-profile work in every department, be that acting, photography, or the special effects. The story is well-constructed, and would’ve been perfect if not for one defect right in the core idea of it. The matter of the gift’s nature and circumstances of its origin are enveloped by ambiguity – nobody knows where it came from, whether it is of supernatural essense, or the manifestation of some alien life form, or of some weird technology, or something like that. Generally speaking, this is a good solution, it spurs the imaginatino, but it also has influenced the authors to avoid answering a very important question in case of this story: why it works like it works? Now, I get that answering this question would’ve decreased the ambiguity, maybe even critically, – so it was a hard thing to work around; it’s sort of lose-lose situation. They chose to give the audience confusing details of the gift’s operation – not a big deal, really, but still.
All in all, I liked it; it’s not perfect, but it’s still great.
Released in: 2010
Directed by: Oskar Santos
Written by: Daniel Sánchez Arévalo
Performed by: Eduardo Noriega, Belén Rueda, Angie Cepeda, Cristina Plazas, Clara Lago, Marcel Borràs, Carlos Leal, Luis Callejo, José Ángel Egido, Chema Ruiz, Dritan Biba, Raúl Fernández, Concha Hidalgo, Carmen Losa, María Miguel
Entertaining quality: 5 out of 5
Art quality: 4+ out of 5
IMDB page: link