"El Infierno" which actually means "Hell" in English is a Mexican-American foreign film telling the story of Benny, a brother who returns home after a 20yr absence to find his brother murdered.
Now a family members' death is difficult enough to accept, but in Benny's case the events which lead to his brother's demise are shrouded in mystery. So, questions such as "Who killed his brother" and "Why" lay heavy on Benny's mind and it's these very same questions that lead Benny down a dark and dangerous path towards the truth.
Now, before you go digging through Netflix to find the film, we must tell you that 99.9% of the dialogue is in
Spanish, so be prepared to read subtitles for a good 2hrs and some change. And now, with the intro out of the way, let's Unhinge, "Hell".
"El Infierno" starts with a young, Benny, leaving his home to find a better life for himself in the U.S. We never are told what kind of life he finds because not even five minutes later, the film fast forwards 20yrs to find Benny being escorted back to Mexico, by U.S border patrol. So the significance of his absence is merely to set the stage for him to return home and find his brother dead. So looking to regain footing in his homeland, Benny(Alcazár) finds himself getting in touch with an old friend from his youth named Cochiloco(Cosío). Cochiloco is a well known gangster/drug dealer that works for a very powerful and rich, Don Reyes(Gómez).
Now as we know with most films, the reunion of two long-time friends always starts off as innocent, before gradually shifting to something with a little more edge. The edge within "El Infierno" revolves around Benny's induction into a world of violence, dope dealing and political satire. However, along the way, Benny finds his brother's better half, Guadalupe(Cervantes) a sexy prostitute who is mother to Benny's nephew, Benjamin, and attempts to fill his brother's shoes. Now with something to lose, Benny must support his brother's girlfriend and son the best way he knows how. And what's that? Dealing drugs with some of Mexico's toughest gangsters, but along the way, he finds out that the killers of his brother may be right under his nose.
"El Infierno" is definitely a different watch than most typical drug dealer/gangster films that we've seen in the U.S, as it's cultural background influences the story-line for a different approach. One thing that we've found to stand out most times when watching foreign cinema is that certain ethics and customs that are ingrained in American film can be nonexistent in movies from different cultures. For example, a handshake is something that we know to seal a deal, but in other countries gestures such as kissing the hand or a bow may be the alternative of choice. This is also something we enjoy about watching foreign cinema, in that there is always an opportunity to learn something new about the world around us.
Now,for the action buffs that are reading this review and are possibly thinking about watching the film. We can say that "El Infierno" contains plenty of gun play from multiple brands of fire, but it is far from as violent as Netflix's description would have you to believe. We watched this film hoping to see something new and unique, but saw nothing more than a few deaths that we consider to be adventurous at best. For a film to be considered violent, by our standards, it would have to walk a close line with "Martyrs" or at the very least a good documentary like "Faces Of Death". Now don't get us wrong the movie has a few life-enders that are different from the norm, but violent...not a chance.
Overall, our opinion of the film is that it's a long story with a decent plot which provides entertainment over the course of 2hrs. This is not a movie to watch when you want to be blown out of your shoes, but rather something you view when there's a good rain outside and you can't go to the theater. The 2hrs of subtitles make it feel more like a book than an action film, so it's more of a drama than anything else. We, as lovers of film, watched "El Infierno" primarily because of it's ability to receive several accolades and praises such as winning the Ariel Award for Best Picture. Now would we sit throughout it again? Probably not..lol