Sporror: King of the Hill
Not to be confused with the animated series, or the 1993 Steven Soderbergh film…. or the various other features and shorts to have used the same name, this KING OF THE HILL is a Spanish horror-action-thriller — Sporror? Spaction? Spriller? — with a minimal cast.
Originally titled ‘El Rey de la montaña’, King of the Hill was Directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego, and while it is an extremely well constructed movie, set against some stunning scenery and with engrossing performances from its leads, Leonardo Sbaraglia (Quim) and María Valverde (Bea), there really isn’t too much to the film’s plot. However, to the credit of all involved, the fact that the plot is thin doesn’t prevent it from being intriguing in the beginning, gripping once it’s underway and gut wrenching at the end. What’s more, it manages to do all that with an extremely unlikeable and irredeemable protagonist on screen for 90% of the movie.
While journeying through an isolated and picturesque area of Spain, Quim has an encounter with a free spirited girl in the rest room of a gas station. After their brief — to the girl’s disappointment — encounter Quim realises that he, his wallet and his favorite cigarette lighter, have parted company. In an attempt to reclaim either his possessions or his dignity, Quim deviates from his intended passage in an attempt to catch up with Bea, the girl from the gas station rest room, but is soon lost in a heavily wooded area.
Quim’s day takes an even greater nosedive when out of nowhere someone starts shooting at him and his car. Lost, bleeding and confused, Quim finds himself trapped and is extremely suspicious when he finds Bea’s car parked on the side of a nearby road.
A large part of the reason why this film works is because of the suspense created by keeping the identity and motivation of Quim and Bea’s pursuers hidden until the final act. The revelation is confronting, and repulsive, for many reasons and will most likely generate a little anger from a particular sector of the film’s audience. As you can probably tell, I’m trying to limit the information that I reveal about this movie, so that it retains as much impact as possible for any readers who choose to seek this film out… and, if you’re in the mood to spend eighty five minutes on the edge of your seat, then you probably should grab this film.
I’ve seen a few Spanish movies lately, particularly of the genre that most interests me, and so far I’ve not been let down. The thing that is most readily apparent, and an attribute that all of the Spanish movies that I’ve seen have, is that they are more than happy to buck the conventions set by cookie-cutter Hollywood offerings. King of the Hill is no exception here, it’s edgy and provocative and every character is expendable. What’s more, the “hero” of this piece is no hero at all, he’s not just flawed or an anti-hero… He’s an appalling coward. And yet, the movie is presented so well, that his desperation to survive is infectious and you’re with him (almost) every step of the way. [source] [buy]