Marshland, film review: Has the feeling of an Iberian True Detective

Alberto Rodriguez, 104 mins, starring Javier Gutierrez, Raul Arevalo, Nerea Barros

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This gritty, very intense Spanish thriller has the feel of an Iberian True Detective.

Set in 1980, it follows two grizzled, moustachioed cops, Juan (Javier Gutiérrez) and Pedro (Raúl Arévalo), investigating the disappearance of teenage girls in a remote part of rural Andalusia.

The cops have very different temperaments and their attitudes toward everything from drinking to politics in post-Franco Spain, where democracy hasn’t yet properly taken root, are often at odds.

Plot-wise, Marshland is conventional but it has real texture and atmosphere. The filmmakers are meticulous in their attention to everything from landscape (the flat sun-baked fields and wetlands) to the machismo and lingering fascist sympathies of many of the townsfolk the detectives encounter.

Lyrical and morbid by turns, Marshland is a brooding Spanish film noir with a very strong kick.