NO REST FOR THE WICKED
NO HABRA PAZ PARA LOS MALVADOS
2011, 114 min, Spain, Dir: Enrique Urbizu

Enrique Urbizu's explosive neo-noir centers on hardened cop Santos Trinidad (Jose Coronado), an alcoholic who, after a tense bar brawl, shoots three people dead. The fourth opponent in the fight (Karim El-Kerem) makes it out alive, leaving Trinidad to track down the sole breathing witness to his impulsively heinous crime. From here, the expertly crafted crime film shifts into cat-and-mouse mode, alternating between police procedural (as investigative detective Helena Miquel pursues Trinidad) and stalker thriller as the crooked cop hunts down his incriminating prey. Winner of the 2012 Goya Award for Best Film, Best Director and Best Actor. In Spanish with English subtitles.


THE NICKEL RIDE
1974, 20th Century Fox, 99 min, USA, Dir: Robert Mulligan

A superb neo-noir with Jason Miller (THE EXORCIST) as the can-do man who holds keys to stolen-goods depots in downtown Los Angeles. Charged by his syndicate boss, urbane John Hillerman, with buying up an unused block of warehouses for more storage, Miller starts to encounter problems. Like an unraveling ball of yarn, trivial difficulties snowball out of control, threatening not only his career but his life. Beautifully realized, from the low-key performances to the evocation of a dying-on-the-vine downtown - whole blocks of which have not changed much since the making of this film. The gradual building of suspense and the aura of impending doom - a feeling so borderline we're not sure if Miller’s just being paranoid - is intensely disturbing. Bo Hopkins is the friendly good ol’ boy apprentice Miller gets saddled with and Linda Haynes is Miller’s understanding girl. Screenplay by Eric Roth (THE INSIDER, MUNICH, FORREST GUMP).


GODS OF THE PLAGUE
GÖTTER DER PEST
1970, Janus Films, 91 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Situated as the centerpiece in a loose trilogy with LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH and THE AMERICAN SOLDIER, Fassbinder’s engrossing take on the crime film is New German Cinema meets film noir. Franz Walsch (Harry Baer) is newly released from prison and, following in the footsteps of heist antiheroes immemorial, tracks down his old cohorts and gets busy planning a new robbery. While Fassbinder plays the Walsch role in the trilogy’s other two films, the presence of Baer (who looks like a hirsute Alain Delon) gives GODS OF THE PLAGUE a surreal, playfully tongue-in-cheek feel, even as it beautifully descends into tragedy. In German with English subtitles.


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