An impressively crafted Spanish thriller
Whether it be a summer romantic fling, a joyous holiday abroad or a beautifully tranquil time with friends at home, everyone has that summer they look back on fondly. This idea ultimately forms the central pillar for which Spanish movie Outlaws (also known as Laws of the Border) tells its tale. With an authentic 70’s vibe, interesting characters and a pretty compelling story, Outlaws is a boisterous, charming good time.
At the center of this movie sits 17 year old Ignacio Canas. This loner student is bullied relentlessly by his fellow students and finds himself an outcast within his own family.
During the Summer of ’78, while working at an arcade, Nacho meets Zarco and Tere. These two young delinquents hail from the city’s Chinatown. They quickly take him under their wing, immersing Nacho in a world of thefts, robberies, drugs and alcohol. Part coming-of-age and part heist thriller, Outlaws then effortlessly switches between the two genres – and it’s all the stronger for it.
Some of the great work done here can be attributed to the art department. The authentic 70’s designs, right the way through news bulletins, costumes and general attitudes from people of the time are pretty spot-on and it’s easy to get immersed in this world.
Likewise, the acting from all involved is very good indeed and each of the main cast have a natural chemistry between them. The trio at the front of this, Nacho, Zarco and Tere, are the main fuel that keeps everything together but the supporting characters certainly do enough to keep you interested in their stories too.
Adapted from the 2012 novel by Javier Cercas, Outlaws is very clearly a nod toward the old quinqui era of cinema. For those unaware, these films were made popular at the end of the 70’s and in the 80’s, centering on delinquents and young love. For a more US-centric reference, think closer to American Graffiti for the chemistry between characters.
The first half of Outlaws bears the most resemblance to this picture, taking its sweet time to get to know all of these characters and flesh out their backstories. There’s a beautiful romance between Tere and Nacho in here too, made all the more complicated by Zarco’s involvement. While not an outright love triangle per-se, this whole story does well to add the tension and drama without diving into outright melodrama.
Ultimately though, Outlaws is just out to tell a good story – and what a tale it is; action, romance and thrills are the dish of the day here. This tasty blend makes for a thoroughly enjoyable Spanish drama that’s well worth a watch.
Read More: Outlaws Ending Explained
Verdict - 8/10