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The Independent Critic

Juan Palomino, Sergio Boris, Hugo "Kato" Quiril, Luis Aranosky
Nicanor Loreti
Nicanor Loreti, Nicolas Galvagno, Martin Blousson (Additional Material), Valentin Javier Diment (Additional Material)
NR (Equiv. to "R")
85 Mins.
Breaking Glass Pictures
Behind-the-Scenes Featurette

 "Diablo" a Reminder of the Joys of Indie Cinema 
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I've been in just a bit of a rough patch with those fine folks at Breaking Glass Pictures, a growing indie distributor with a mighty impressive record for picking winning indie films deserving of a quality packaging deal for distribution. For quite some time, it seemed like 90% of what Breaking Glass released I enjoyed if not downright embraced. Then, the rough patch started and it seemed like even the films I "liked" didn't quite capture my passion on the level that I'd come to expect.

Welcome back, Breaking Glass Pictures.

Diablo, a Spanish language film with boldness and brashness and a morbidly perverse sense of cinematic pleasure is the kind of film I've been waiting for with its hilariously dark humor, confident swagger and an embracing of its violence that would likely be disturbing if it wasn't so darn entertaining.

Have I mentioned I loved the film?

Marcus Wainsberg (Juan Palomino), also known as the Inca of the Sinai because of his Jewish roots, was at one point one of the biggest boxers around. A former champion, Marcus gets destroyed by his guilty conscience after accidentally killing a man in the wrong with a single punch. Now, he's exhausted and out of shape and seemingly bogged down by the guilt that won't leave his mind.

But, things might be on the upswing. The girlfriend that left him not long after the fight has called and wants to get together for a possible reunion. Marcus is psyched, or at least psyched until his cousin, Huguito (Sergio Boris), shows up at his door. Against his better judgment, Marcus opens the door to a bruised and battered cousin who offers no real explanation for his condition. While Hugo runs out to pick up beer, two thugs come looking for him and take their frustrations out on Marcus when Hugo's nowhere to be found.

Let's just say that Marcus doesn't respond well.

The parade doesn't stop. A couple fake cops. A real cop (Luis Ziembrowski). Hugo's best friend (Luis Aranosky). Finally fed up, Marcus tortures the truth out of folks and discovers that the always misguided Hugo has tried to scam his boss, a crime boss, by withholding for "ransom" a certain important item that he really, really needs. And, you guessed it, he's hidden it in Marcus's freezer.

The only problem? Marcus ate it.

Yes, even as I'm finding myself writing the story I'm remembering the film's dialogue, images and director Nicanor Loreti's willingness to go where so few indie productions have the balls to actually go. With its brashness, it reminds me of another recent excellent Breaking Glass Pictures release, Dust Up, but with a different tone and cinematic voice all its own.

Despite its low budget, which is at times a bit obvious, Diablo entertains from beginning to end - at least for those who can deal with its unrestrained violence and celebration of it. Juan Palomino is a joy to behold as the weathered and weary and depressed boxer who suddenly finds himself perversely inspired by this change of events. Palomino has nearly 60 credits to his name, though it's mostly Spanish language cinema/television and the actor is likely a relatively new face for American audiences. He should be a welcomed embrace, evoking a presence not far removed from that of Danny Trejo with his ability to be simultaneously sympathetic and swaggering.

The supporting cast is strong as well, while the entire production team deserves credit for putting together a quality production on a modest budget while keeping the pace nearly perfect and the action sequences, especially the fight choreography, convincing and exciting.

Diablo has a street date of June 4th, but you can already visit the Breaking Glass Pictures website to check out info about the film and to get it pre-ordered for your collection. The film's DVD does only include one extra, a "Behind-the-Scenes" featurette, but this is still a film fans of quality indie action will want to add to the collection. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles and you should be aware that despite being "Not Rated" the film easily runs the equivalent of an "R" rating.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic