The Hours Of The Day review

On the outskirts of Barcelona, Abel (Alex Brendemühl) runs a clothing boutique. Living with his widowed mother, he spends his spare time hanging out with his girlfriend or listening to the get-rich-quick schemes of pal Marcos (Vicente Romero). Oh, and he also commits acts of unprovoked, murderous violence...

Based on a newspaper story, this debut feature from Spain’s Jaime Rosales doesn’t attempt to explain Abel’s actions. Instead, his leisurely film focuses on the stifling oppressiveness of Abel’s daily existence. What proves disconcerting is that the killing of strangers is treated in the same matter-of-fact tone as a quiet drink at a bar or an argument with an employee over severance pay.

Shot with elegant detachment, The Hours Of The Day scrupulously avoids glamorising its subject matter, while Brendemühl’s restrained performance intelligently conveys his character’s fundamental enigma.

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