Film Column – The Courier

The film is set to the backdrop of overindulgence in corrupt Spanish politics at the beginning of this century.

SPANISH crime thriller The Courier (El Correo), directed by Daniel Calparsoro, is based on a true story about a modest valet who finds himself caught up in the fraudulent world of money lending.

Now streaming on Netflix, this is a tale of fast cars, fast cash, and fast living. The film is set to the backdrop of overindulgence in corrupt Spanish politics at the beginning of this century — those heady Celtic Tiger years — the Great EU Recession, and the leaner times that followed for unscrupulous legislators, businessmen, and, the common folk.

The Courier is slick and comes off like a soulless Eurotrash cocktail of Reeling in the Years, The Fast and Furious, Goodfellas, and Baby Driver. It’s all very stylish and shallow, and could double as an advertisement for a mundane noughties package holiday to the Costa del Sol. It just screams of sun, sea, sex, and Bertie Ahern.

The film opens in 2002 as Spain first gets the Euro, a time of opportunities, especially for those who can see opportunities everywhere.

Iván (Arón Piper) is a kid from Vallecas who has outgrown his Madrid neighbourhood and wants more from life. From his position as a valet at a luxurious golf club resort, he sets his sights high and has ideas just how to go about getting the finer things. Always looking for an opening, a chance to claw his way up out of the 9-5 rat-race, Iván then becomes a Belgian courier for an international money-laundering organisation.

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After that, it is all sex, drugs, and sports cars with a mix of political skullduggery, parties on yachts, sipping róse in beach clubs, and popping pills at all-night raves and orgies.

Calparsoro’s film comes off as a half-hearted narrative about a young man who dared to have it all during an economic downturn that coincided with banking corruption scandals aplenty.

Sadly, The Courier lacks grit and is all very banal, glossy, and ineffective. It never really gets where it intended to go.