"Do you feel sorry for junkies?''.
Eye For An Eye is a Spanish vengeance story directed by Paco Plaza (REC, Veronica) and, even though no one can claim that it is a genre-defining crime/thriller, it both entertains and emotionally touches the audience. When a drug-lord patriarch, Antonio, is released from prison due to health issues, he chooses to live in a sanatorium for the rest of his days rather than his house as his relationship with his two kids, Kiko and Toño is strained. Mario is a male nurse in the nursing home that Antonio will be living from now on and he takes over Antonio's case and becomes his personal aid. But Mario has a tragic past that is connected to Antonio's former business as his brother, a heroin user and one of Antonio's pushers, committed suicide 25 years ago. Now Mario has the ultimate chance to exact his revenge from the person that he hates most in this world and who is responsible for the shaping of his stoic and meek personality. Mario begins poisoning the old man by putting bleach to his food and by injecting heroin to his veins every night. Antonio soon becomes totally paralyzed and even unable to speak so Mario's work becomes all the easier.
The premise of the story is formulaic as it brings to mind many other revenge crime films, but the strength of this film generates not from its over-elaborate plot but rather from the complexity and truthfulness of the characters. Luis Tosar gives a magnificent performance as Mario, lending subtlety and esoterical tension to the character who is also the main protagonist of the story. Xan Cejudo is decent in the role of Antonio while in the case of the two brothers, Kiko and Toño, we can detect a gap between the quality of the performances given by Enric Auger and Ismael Martinez. While the second is measured and solemn, Auger seems to over-act his role, but perhaps this is an unfair assessment as Kiko's role is supposed to be a little over-the-top. I didn't like María Vázquez's acting as Mario's pregnant wife, Julia, but this may be due to my indifference over her character. The interaction sequences between the couple are -more or less- tedious but they also act as an intermission to the events of the plot.
Eye For An Eye is a slow-burning picture that will disappoint those who expect a Hollywood-like revenge movie and fans of Kill Bill should steer clear. Nevertheless, it features some nice action scenes that pick up the tempo, while there is also a certain amount of disturbing imagery and I'm referring to Kiko's prison sequences. There is a well-placed and effective plot twist in the end but the final few minutes are somehow disturbing and then the film ends abruptly, leaving the viewer feeling a bit annoyed. If I had to rate the movie, I would give it a 6,5/10. It is definitely not among the best Spanish crime film exports of the last years but it will keep you glued to the screen and offer you some very nice moments.