Director: Luis Rojo, Nacho A. Villar | Script: Nacho A. Villar, Raúl Liarte, Luis Rojo | Time to play: 81 minutes | Year: 2022
Playing at the interface between documentary and fiction the bad family six friends tell their own story. When one of them (Andrés) gets a leave of absence from jail, it’s the perfect occasion to have a barbecue with all the men at the lake. During that day with everyone, an incident from eight years ago still resonates for six of them. For this they still have to pay compensation to the victim or go to prison for a year. However, their social position is not such that they can easily drop the monthly amount.
In their debut film, the BRBR filmmaking collective (which includes two directors and a cinematographer) create a safe place for friends to talk about their past. In all the chats, the presence of opposition authorities never feels far away. It attracts all the discussed issues about looking for a job or staying on track. Social criticism of a Spanish society in which it is difficult to have a second chance sneaks in so subtly. In conversations, the encouraging pat on the back comes as quickly as the behavior of the cock with strong bottles in the largest group.
BRBR portrays friendships in an intimate way. They’re close, sometimes literally as the handheld camera glides over a couple of sunbathers. The past floats overhead thanks to eclectic style choices. A security camera in the courtroom, planning for the day during video calls on vertical phone footage, and the smooth cinematography on the lake itself, in its variation, give an idea of where the six men come from.
Casual as a warm summer day, the movie cuts off at any moment. Casual style puts men beyond stereotypes. With that, the wait-and-see attitude BRBR watches provides a study in masculinity, now that friends can interact so confidentially. But the loose narrative structure plays a role. the bad family sometimes part. Conflicts sometimes feel too unspoken. When the big group goes swimming or buys hot dogs for the BBQ, they just show up like old friends off to do something fun again.
Each moment shown turns out to be a highlight, so the presence of the camera no longer seems like a coincidence. Therefore, it is doubtful to what extent the bad family play a documentary At the most tense moment, one of the six, when they are finally alone, vents his frustrations on the others. That situation feels a little too staged, though, as the camera keeps rolling and the same points keep coming up in the discussion. Watching BRBR also does little to encourage a climax. But when Andrés travels back to prison, the feeling of having relived the past with his friends still lingers.
the bad family can be seen in Netflix.