Screen capture of the El Niño title graphic as seen on Netflix.com PHOTO CREDIT: Netflix.com (unlicensed/editorial fair use)

El Niño: Drug Runners Make Splash in Seaside Spanish Thriller

Luis Tosar y Jesús Castro vinieron a divertirse a El Hormiguero
Luis Tosar y Jesús Castro having a good time on the set of the Spanish TV program El Hormiguero. PHOTO CREDIT: El Hormiguero (Own Work) [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr.com (editorial use)

Bert from Sesame Street + Drugs & Boats = A Good Time?

I was in the mood to watch a movie with Luis Tosar in it. I generally like his movies, and somehow I’m able to simultaneously find him attractive and think he looks exactly like Bert from Sesame Street.

Spanish actor Luis Tosar, star of El Niño
No idea what is happening in this picture, but your image options are limited when you’re following copyright laws, eh? “Luis Tosar” By Julius1990 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Bert & Ernie
Bert and Ernie are known in Spain as Epi y Blas, and Sesame Street is Barrio Sésamo. Blas is Burt, the one on the left.  See the resemblance to  Tosar? “Bert & Ernie” by Cliff (cliff1066?), on Flickr [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr
So cruising Netflix, I stumbled upon El Niño, which is described as “Two friends living in Spain [who] begin smuggling drugs in from Morocco for cash, but get caught between a cocaine kingpin and the police.”

Screen capture of the El Niño title graphic as seen on Netflix.com PHOTO CREDIT: Netflix.com (unlicensed/editorial fair use)
Screen capture of the El Niño title graphic as seen on Netflix.com PHOTO CREDIT: Netflix.com (unlicensed/editorial fair use)

The description reminded me a little bit of the book La Reina del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, (eng | esp) which had I gobbled up. El Niño also has four stars and is from 2014, and those three things were enough to jump in.

This movie is a sort of The Fast and the Furious by boat. Tons of action and cool chase scenes, a super simple plot, fairly one-dimensional characters, and a good time had by all.

Spanish trailer:

Trailer with English subtitles:

Jesús, It Even Has a Sexy Spanish Paul Walker

I even had to laugh when I realized Tosar’s costar, Jesús Castro, absolutely reminded me of the late actor Paul Walker. (Rest in peace, gorgeous.)

By that I mean he also has arresting gorgeous blue eyes, and wears the same damn facial expression throughout the film.  However, this was Castro’s first movie, and he’d never acted before, so I’ll cut him a bit of a slack.

PREMIERE 'EL NIÑO'" by Patricia Reyes for YourWay Magazine, on Flickr
This is my happy face. This is my sad face. This is my angry face. PHOTO CREDIT: “PREMIERE ‘EL NIÑO'” by Patricia Reyes for YourWay Magazine[CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ], via Flickr.com (editorial use)
According to this article, before earning his big break Jesús Castro worked as an electrician, helped his dad in the family’s churro shop, and spent nights pounding the pavement in “P.R.”

“P.R.” in Spain is what they call people who pass out flyers on the sidewalk or try to get groups of men and women to visit to certain bars and club.  More of a literal relating with the public, and quite different than what comes to mind as a P.R. job in the U.S.

Anyway, Castro showed up at the casting on a whim. There were 3,000 people there, and seeing the never-ending line, he decided to leave. Just then a casting director walked by, took one look at him, and was like, “Um no, you’re gorgeous and you need to stay. By my side. Forever.”

OK, maybe she didn’t say exactly that, but Castro ended up getting the lead role.

In the video below he explains the chance encounter at the casting.

The gaditano was born in 1993, which makes me feel like the lady version of a viejo verde for fawning over his looks. I’ve owned cars older than him.

In the clip below, he Castro tells a Cuatro host that while he has many faults, his blue eyes are “de verdad.”

Although I found his performance flat,  Castro earned a Goya nomination in the Best New Actor category, so maybe it’s just me?

There’s kind of a messy subplot with Niño’s friend Compi and his girlfriend, and I was pretty whatever about that whole thing. Niño romances a beautiful woman, but that storyline is pretty straightforward as well. I did like the performance of Mariam Bachir as Amina, and hope to see her in future movies.

My husband tends to walk the other way when he sees me watching Spanish movies and TV shows, but I think even he might enjoy El Niño. This LA Times review outlines the plot a bit more without spoiling anything, and is worth a quick read.

I do have to say that although a traditional thriller, the director makes good use of surprises, so the film is not totally predictable.

This Guiri Made Major Use of the Subtitles

Jesús Castro is from Cádiz. I read somewhere that they were casting specifically from the south to ensure their actor had that thick accent they wanted. Check.  My God, I had no idea what he and his buddy Compi were saying half the time when they were speaking to each other!

The cops, including Tosar, are all pretty easy to understand on their own.

The last video below is the cast arriving by helicopter at a screening in Spain. So dive in, and enjoy some action-packed fun with El Niño. Let me know what you think!

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