ALICANTE. If one knows the psychiatric prison of Fontcalent —one of the few that works in Spain and which, therefore, has as inmates/patients some of the most mediatic criminals of our recent history— one immediately realizes that the one that proposes as the scene of the action the new series of Netflix, The longest nightIt has nothing to do with reality. But it is not verisimilitude what the new hit is looking for Made in Spain of the platform streaming par excellence, but the pure and hard fun of the spectator.
The innocent, Jaguar… Netflix was searching —unsuccessfully so far— for a new great success of its own production in Spain, after having lit up the boom of The Money Heistunappealable success throughout the world and that, among other things, has discovered Oh beautiful bye for a whole generation that did not live through the second world war or listen to contemporary versions of italian punks Bassotti Band or the Spanish boycott, in addition to helping to provide an interesting corporate image to a certain beer that almost ruined it in the recent transporters’ strike. It remains to be seen if he succeeds with this newly released miniseries —and in which the rest has been thrown with the marketing— that already points to a second season, but The longest night point ways.
Point out ways to american, specifically. Stripped of ideological or philosophical pretensions, and only brushing with the tips of the fingers some timid moral approach which is nothing more than an excuse to justify subsequent action, what the series proposes are 250 minutes of adrenaline: explosions, shots, chases, intrigue, tension… in a limited space that is reminiscent of the Nakatomi Plaza building from the first Jungle of Glass. Only that it is a prison psychiatric hospital where the ‘bad guys’ are out and want to get in to get hold of a particular inmate (who presumably has nothing nice in store for him), and the ‘good guys’, prison staff and inmates/patients, They’re inside trying to defend the fort.
It is not the only reference, because if the series also resembles La Casa de Papel in matters such as its theme, the extensive casting or an exquisite production design, it also owes a lot to another hit of the genre thriller (and American): the series 24 of Kiefer Sutherland: the action unfolds in real time in a single night —tachanwe already have an explanation for the title—, we are told what time the protagonists live, and even the credits mimic the screen of a classic digital clock.
Many actors in the longest night of Monte Baruca
In order for a story in ‘real time’ and that takes place in a limited space —the fictional Monte Baruca prison psychiatric hospital— with an approach that does not allow too many pirouettes to be as long as its title promises, it was necessary to stretch the casting as much as possible. . And this is not only generous in quantitybut in quality. Many of the faces that roam the prison as users, or of those who monitor them, or of those who want to enter, are more than recognizable.
Robert Alamo (God forgive us, Charon) Y Jose Luis Garcia Perez (El Cid), two ‘black leg’ of the national cinema, lead the gang of bad guys who have been hired to get their new and temporary tenant out of jail, so that he does not confess unspeakable secrets capable of causing the suicide of those affected in order to not face the consequences. Among the users of the installation, it is easily recognized Cecilia Freire (Velvet), Caesar Matthew (welcome to edenanother from Netflix), Lucia Diez (the cathedral of the sea) or the always extraordinary Daniel Albaladejo (Camera Cafe, Faith of ETA or that ‘marcianada’ with two posh names from La Moraleja, among many others), which has one of the most grateful roles among the inmates.
also appear Barbara Goenaga (the timecrimes, agnosia) as the medical director of the facility and love interest of the protagonist, Zoe Arno like the brave daughter of the prison warden, Xavier Deib such as the heavy-handed vigilante Bastos, or the Asian Huichi Chiu in a surprising role that should not be revealed. But above all, the protagonists yin and yang stand out: an impressive Louis Callejo like the psychopath Simón, trigger of the action with his arrival —to spend a single night, does that sound familiar?— to Monte Baruca, and who has nothing to envy to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter, and the director of the facility, a Right Albert Ammann who plays a disaster of a father and a guy who tries to do his job well.
The relationship between Callejo and Ammann
The relationship between the educated, refined psychopath, who slits your throat while tasting a Pesquera and who never stops staring into the distance —but sees everything—, and the timid, divorced civil servant, who tries to do his job well without succeeding —hence who runs the worst den in the fictional Spanish prison system—while pretending to be father of the year (spoilers, neither), is the touchstone around which all the action revolves. Of course, Ammann has good reasons for not handing over Callejo, beyond doing the right thing, but the communion of interests between two antonymous characters will create more than one moral conflict, between explosion and explosion.
In short, and without ceasing to be a series of characters —as all Spanish women are—, The longest night it’s a burst of action and fun in six episodes of just over 40 minutes, which despite what the title promises, is short.