Directed by Fernando León de Aranoa
Starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, and Peter Sarsgaard
Pablo Escobar is one of the most known out of the Colombian drug lords. I learned about him through the series Narcos on Netflix and then on documentaries that I found on the different platforms, because honestly, I could not believe the things he did. This film is based on the written by his lover Virginia Verdejo.
The film takes a look at the rise of Pablo Escobar in Columbia and his affair with Virginia. She was a reporter in Columbia when she met Pablo and they started a love affair. In the film, we see how Pablo rose to be a powerful man in Columbia. The film takes a look at how Pablo’s activities affected Virginia.
I have to say that many films or series have been made about Pablo, so really this film just felt repetitive without offering anything new to the viewer that might have seen other series or films based on Escobar. The only new revelations were the scenes on how Virginia’s life was affected by her involvement with Escobar. As Pablo began his war on Colombia she wanted to leave Pablo but it would be too late, she was always associated with Escobar and the horrible things he did. I have not read the book, but I think the book could have details of their relationship that would have provided a different look at Escobar and made for a different film. I think the title misleads in the sense that it refers to Virginia’s life more than Pablo’s, but Virginia feels more like a secondary character, just another victim of Escobar and she just narrates the events.
I think that the effectiveness of this film is shadowed by the great production that Netflix made with the series Narcos. Before recommending this movie, I would recommend the Narcos series. Javier Bardem is a great actor, and he did a good job with the role, but in my mind, Wagner Mora’s performance as Pablo still fresh and he was amazing in the role. Of course, the series benefits in the sense that it has episodes and the film has a time limit. I also think that by having the Colombian characters speak English it felt less convincing, again the series was in Spanish because that was the main language they spoke.
Penelope and Javier are great actors so as expected their performances were good, other than knowing their latin they should have been allowed to speak Spanish. but for me, the movie just felt pointless because the story has been told in so many ways and better. Maybe if it really focused on Virginia and having Pablo as a background character, maybe it would have offered a real new perspective.