‘Model 77’ – Life imprisonment

Watching the latest film by Alberto Rodríguez, ‘Capacity Perpetuity’, Frank Darabont’s masterpiece, constantly came to mind. Could ‘Model 77’ be a kind of homeland version of that one? By power, it could be. why not? Leaving aside the enormous (and obvious) differences between the two (and the almost 30 years that make the North American film an unquestionable classic), in both we find a harsh prison story that, above all else, becomes strong. in the friendship between two prisoners: one veteran and one rookie. The relationship between Miguel Herrn and a Javier Gutirrez determined to show that any role is too small for him marks this story that manages to overcome, with more skill than mastery, the two most important obstacles he faced: The obligation to fit a fiction within some real events, as well as a story that unfolds over several years. Something that Rodríguez already showed that he knew how to do with ‘The Man with a Thousand Faces’, and which he successfully confronts again here to offer a film that is as solid as it is dynamic. A film where there is nothing that is left over or missing, tracing a clear path that, like a cycling tour, burns stages, one after another, while forging said friendship. Like the aforementioned ‘Life imprisonment’, it is not a film that at first appears particularly brilliant. Everything is nice and in its place, and everything flows smoothly and organically. But neither his story feels novel nor does his staging feel special. Because ‘Model 77’ is a discreet and silent masterpiece that unfolds on schedule. Like when the leader beats the bottom player 4-0 while still playing good football. Precisely, like ‘Capacity Perpetuity’, Alberto Rodríguez’s latest film shines for the humility, simplicity, pragmatism and enormous regularity with which he narrates a story accompanied, yes, by a series of remarkable moments. Moments comparable to those four goals that, as expected, fulfill a ballot that was not so easy to fulfill. Although in the hands of Alberto Rodríguez it may seem so, to the point of being able to underestimate a film as resounding as ‘Model 77’. That discreet and silent teacher I used to say, where the director hides and disappears behind a story that seems to tell itself. As if it were as simple as it seems with someone like Javier Gutirrez at the helm. It is true that ‘Model 77’ plays with some other marked card (because of its trailer, life or cinema), but, as often happens with movies, its relative obviousness is a direct consequence of both internal and logical evidence. as external. It’s like 4-0 from leader to bottom: A resounding victory that lacks the thrill of doubt. Or like Spain’s victory against France in the recent EuroBasket 2022: Not making it clear from the beginning that we were going to win results in a less meritorious and satisfying victory.

By Juan Pairet Iglesias