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One Movie Punch

Dec 1, 2018

Hi everyone!

Welcome back to the podcast. This will be the first of two episodes today as we’re working to get caught up from the fire. I’ll be continuing my story from the wildfire evacuation in a minute, but if you haven’t heard the earlier segments, hit pause, then go back to my review for “Outlaw King” (Episode #314) for the first segment, then listen every episode after that for another installment. Let me know you’re listening by sharing this episode with #WelcomeBackOMP.

Last segment, our family had finished repacking and started binging content. You might ask why I wasn’t working on the podcast, and quite frankly, I was overwhelmed after repacking. The packing included putting all the technical equipment away. We hadn’t really gotten guidance on the flare up, but the wind had finally died down, so they were working furiously to contain everything. We woke up the next morning, less stressed, and falsely comforted by the clear skies. Our daughter was invited by our neighbors to head out to the mall and to grab some lunch. I worked on trying to catch up the chores, puttering around the house keeping busy, and always walking by our pre-packed bags. My spouse was feeling much better, physically anyway, and when the chores were done, we sat down to continue binging “Veep”. At least until my wife stood up and said, “Enough of this. Let’s go run the errands.” I protested, until she added, “And a big bowl of ramen.” Shoes were never put on so fast.

More on the story from the fire tomorrow. 

Today’s movie is “The Tribe” (2018), the Netflix Original Spanish comedy directed by Fernando Colomo and written for the screen in collaboration with Yolanda García Serrano and Joaquín Oristrell. The film follows Fidel (Paco León), an HR manager who loses everything after being hauled out of his office sexually connected to his intern, and becoming an Internet pariah. While working through everything, he decides to find his biological mother Virginia (Carmen Machi), who had given him up for adoption at birth. After the brief meeting, Fidel tries to commit suicide, but instead wakes up with transient amnesia, and Virginia uses this opportunity to make up for lost time.

Spoilers ahead.

I feel like today’s film is what I was hoping to find watching “Jefe” (Episode #308). “Jefe” was a dark comedy that seemed mostly focused on revenge rather than redemption. “La Tribu”, however, is light-hearted, and focused on true redemption, even for a total asshole like Fidel. Because prior to his fall, Fidel laid off 300 folks from his former employer, and didn’t care about anything but himself. And after he loses his memory, he becomes moldable clay, able to be shaped, or rather reshaped, into a decent human being. It has all the makings of a great film, even if amnesia as a storytelling element is very much overused. However, then we get to see Virginia’s tribe, and everything becomes much more interesting.

We learn that Virginia has a group of older ladies that have formed an intense bond through urban dance while watching their children take classes, who call themselves Las Mamis, and are super fuera, and they have great pride in themselves, as their chant states throughout the film. Fidel ends up joining the same group, becoming their leader and guide, and when they are recorded doing their incredibly well-choreographed numbers in a club, get picked up for the national talent show. Not because of their talent, or certainly not primarily because of that talent, but because the scout recognizes Fidel as the Stickyman, and wants to exploit him for ratings on the show. And what’s worse, Virginia has figured out who Fidel really is, and is trying to hide his identity from him so he doesn’t try to commit suicide again. Now we’ve got a fun premise, and they take this campy premise all the way to its end.

The best part about this film? The dancing. I loved watching the ladies (and Fidel) do their numbers, full of confidence and style, showing with their numbers more than any of their characters could even communicate via dialogue. We also get Virginia’s other two sons, who are organizers against the corporation Fidel was fired from, which helps Fidel discover a path to redemption, if he’s willing to take it. And it all comes together at the end very well, with Fidel regaining his memory under hilarious circumstances, and deciding to humiliate himself for the sake of his newfound tribe. Fernando Colomo does an excellent job composing the film, working in the Stickyman track in fun ways, and ending with an awesome number.

“The Tribe” (2018) is a campy redemption story of a horrible person, using situational comedy and strong messaging, allowing the lead character to find redemption the same way the rest of his newfound tribe has done. It is a solid film with great dancing and choreography, and will be sure to make anyone laugh. Fans of campy comedies, or heartwarming redemption tales, will definitely enjoy this film, but it may not be everyone else’s cup of tea.

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%

Metacritic: NR

One Movie Punch: 8.2/10

“The Tribe” (2018) is rated TV-MA and is currently streaming on Netflix.