Black Beach

  • 13 Feb - 19 Feb, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly

Netflix movie Black Beach demands close attention, for better or worse. It’s a dense Spanish thriller – that puts its protagonist in a number of predicaments and then asks its audience to keep up. Carlos (Arevalo) is a well-off lawyer. He gets up, and then jogs to a restaurant, where he goes into a backroom and fondles a plastic bag with cash in it. Carlos goes to an office and does some corporate this-and-that, and makes an old white guy in a boardroom angry. Carlos is then tasked with travelling to an unspecified African country to help negotiate the release of a kidnapped man who’s an engineer for an American oil company. Carlos is chosen for this job because he used to live in an African country, and he knows some people. If he makes sure everything goes smoothly, he’ll become a partner at the firm at approximately level 6.3, just enough to unsettle but not enough to really guide our emotions. Carlos arrives in Africa and starts pushing through set piece after set piece, ranging from a massive party thrown by the president’s son and featuring a giraffe – indoors! – To a hideout deep in the jungle to a human-rights nightmare of a prison to clusters of run-down tin shacks. The film isn’t so impenetrable as to be thematically vacant.