La Voz de su Amo (2001) from ICMS

The title would translate as "His master's voice" and that is to some degree what this film is about. The story is set in 1980 in the Basque Country in Spain. It deals with a Portuguese businessman (Joaquim de Almeida), his right hand man Charli (Eduard Fernández) and the businessman's daughter Marta (Silvia Abascal). When I say businessman and Basque Country you've probably already guessed that this is not going to be a romantic epic ŕ la Titanic. Far from it. We are confronted with suspicion and violence in all kinds of forms but also with love and friendship. Or aren't we ? And will Charli continue to follow his master's voice? I really can't tell much more about the plot without spoiling the movie, other than to say that really no-one is who he seems to be.


Silvia Abascal shows all 3 B's and Ana Otero as a heroin addict shows her breasts in bed in a hotel.
Although the score is based on a mere 8 votes, the film is rated way too low in the IMDB. Those voters probably didn't notice the beautifully composed images and excellently lit scenes. They also must have been oblivious to the fact that this film shows some magnificent pictures of the Basque countryside and the beautiful city of Bilbao. The story also makes sense, although the script could have been a bit more specific about the "respected" businessman's activities. It would have given a better understanding of his actions. The actors all put in a great performance, especially Joaquim de Almeida and the young, fresh and uninhibited Silvia Abascal. This film is a very good effort from director Emilio Martínez Lázaro.
not available in Region 1
The hotel location is Hotel Miramar in Deba near Bilbao and it still looks as spartan and obsolete as back in 1987. The actor at the reception desk was as cool and reserved as the real guy. I still wonder if that man remembered the moment when he laughed or smiled for the last time.  

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters currently underrate it 5.9/10, but based on only 8 votes.
  • with their dollars: a bomb. Only 48,000 admissions in Spain.


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, my rating would be 7.0 or C+.

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