“I’ve been shot, I’ve no idea where I am”
El Rey De La Montana is a survival horror film from Spain. It is also an immensely frustrating film to review. The plot is straight forward enough, the problem is, without giving away plot spoilers it is nigh impossible to review this movie properly. So I’m going to take the unusual step of giving a review with major plot spoilers in it. The following paragraph is safe to read as it will just give a brief plot summary, it is the paragraph after that will contain the aforementioned spoilers. If you haven’t seen the movie, I suggest watching it before reading past the next paragraph.
As mentioned before, the movie’s plot is simple enough. Quim (pronounced keem) stops at a petrol station in the middle of the countryside while on his way to see his ex girlfriend & patch things up. While there he meets Bea (played by the gorgeous Maria Valverde) & ends up getting rather intimate in the petrol stations toilets (I drive for a living & I have never had a beautiful stranger give me a Knee trembler in the khazi, sadly) Once Bea has left, Quim realises that while they had sex, Bea stole his wallet, fortunately for him, she paid for his fuel before she left. Quim continues his journey until he sees Bea’s car turn off the main road & he decides to follow. A couple of miles further down the road, Quim is shot at, hitting his car & forcing him to pull over & check the damage. While out of the car a figure appears & shoots Quim in the leg. He climbs back in the car & quickly drives off. No sooner has he fled the scene, another gunman steps into the road & Quim runs him over. Now in a state of panic Quim drives off at speed & finds Bea further down the road, her car tyre having been shot. It soon becomes apparent that the two are being hunted & will have to trust each other to survive.
If you have read this far & haven’t seen this movie I suggest you stop reading & watch the film. As I have previously mentioned what follows contains major spoilers. King Of The Mountain starts off well, as a survival horror film it establishes character & peril very well. Both Maria Valverde & Leonardo Sbaraglia (Quim) put in highly believable performances. Quim is suitably mistrustful of Bea after she had sex with him & robbed him within minutes of meeting him, he is also falling apart, struggling to truly come to terms with the unfolding horror. Bea is a lot more pragmatic, realising hers & Quim’s life is in danger she almost takes charge, intent on getting them both out alive. The first failings of the movie occur when Quim & Bea meet two policemen who don’t act in any way realistically & are obviously just fodder. The first major flaw in the movie is about two-thirds of the way in. Whilst running for their lives, Quim & Bea fall into a large, deep hole. Quim is nursing his wounded leg & Bea has been shot in the shoulder. After unsuccessfully trying to help Bea to climb out, Quim manages to free himself from the hole. He starts to look for a log he can use to pull Bea out & just as he finds one he hears the gunmen approach. instead of rushing to free Bea, he runs off & leaves Bea to die. Any sympathy the viewer had for Quim disappears at that moment, leaving the film bereft of anyone to root for. The gunmen themselves is the next problem, they are not men, just little kids playing a game. It’s here the director attempts some social commentary about violent video games. We get endless shots for the kids perspective, mirroring 1st person shooters like Call Of Duty or Left 4 Dead. Subtle it isn’t & seems almost forced. The idea of kids being this violent has been done before in movies like Ils, so nothing new here either.
King Of The Mountain is a movie that shows promise but falters badly in the final third. Worth watching once if you see it in your TV listings, even if it’s just for Maria Valverde, certainly not worth a rental fee. Shame really because it could have been a great little movie.