Director: Carles Torres
Cast: Mario Casas, Deborah Francois
Human behaviour is complex, convoluted and layered in bizarre ways. The Shahid Kapoor-starrer 2019 Kabir Singh is a classic example of how people respond and react. Singh is a medical student, a confirmed bully whose romantic inclination towards Preeti Sikka (played by Kiara Advani) is woven into a web of brutish behaviour. Yet, she puts up with it, and stays with him, suffering all the while. Mani Ratnam's Kaatru Veliyidai talks about a similar situation in which the girl (Aditi Rao Hydari) tolerates her husband''s (Karthi) unruly behaviour. There are any number of works – Berlin Syndrome and The Room among others – where women get enslaved in bloody cruelty.
Carles Torres' Spanish work, The Paramedic (El Practiciante), just out on Netflix, also focuses on irrational conduct. Angel (Mario Casas) is a paramedic who works for an emergency ambulance service. And in one the first scenes, we see his cruelty when he does not attend to an elderly dying couple caught in their over-turned car. Possessive about his girlfriend, Vane (Deborah Francois), Angel becomes even more tyrannical after he loses control over his legs following an accident
For a while, Vane ignores his taunts and teases, but finally walks out on him. But Angel is not one to give up. He begins to stalk her and even hacks her phone to listen in to her conversations. In the end, he makes her living hellish, but I suppose life has its way of getting back.
The Paramedic appears to have been lazily written. It's protagonist, Angel, is so unidimensional that the plot itself begins to crack up. He is shown as a jealous jerk out to wreak havoc on Vane. He is abusive, manipulative and seems like a man with a serious psychological problem. A very unlikable character turns the movie unduly complex, the why of which is not explained, with the result that scenes get boringly repetitive. The story itself is predictable, and the thriller lacks punch.
Casas, who was recently seen in The Occupant, hardly suits the role of a man who is devious to the core. He fails to portray the devil in him. Francois is also not up to the mark. I could hardly see the torment she is going through, her dilemma at being a prisoner to the man's obsessiveness.
To sum it up, The Paramedic is 90 minutes of sheer cliches. It gives us nothing new.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is author, commentator and movie critic)