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By Steve Palopoli

This homage to Peckinpah and Polanski (mostly it's a replay of Straw Dogs, with a touch of Chinatown) is intriguing but ultimately baffling and irritating. What exactly is the point of this film—which stars Gary Oldman and Paddy Considine as Englishmen taking on Spanish hicks in the 1970s—other than to remind us that people once made movies that were somewhat like this one? Neither writer/director Koldo Serra or his co-writer Jon Sagala really seems to understand what made those "serious exploitation" flicks great. Instead, they shy away from the exploitation aspects of their own movie and then fill it with dialogue (mostly about relationship troubles) and music (Leonard Cohen's "There Is a War") that's supposed to make what's going on seem Important. Really, it's just kind of boring, although there is some suspense once the intrigue finally kicks in. Oldman is good in a role he could do in his sleep, but the delivery from Considine and the two European actresses who play their significant others is atrocious—dramatic brooding and meaningful looks are pretty much their only two settings. Word about this European joint production had gotten around for a couple of years, so there was some excitement when it got a DVD distributor in the United States, even for a bare-bones disc like this. But it's definitely the kind of film that looks better on paper.

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