A building on fire and screams of despair. Soldiers from the Grupo Especial de Operaciones are trying to save the people until the firefighters arrive. One soldier enters the blazing building again, to save more people despite the risk.
That’s the opening of Unknown Origins (Original Title: Orígenes secretos).
After that, we accompany the Detective David Valentín (played by Javier Rey) in his first case, in the Madrid Homicide Division. Soon, the case unfolds into a series of murders and the retired detective Cosme (played by Antonio Resines) realizes all of them have something to do with comics.
With that in mind, the chief of homicides, Norma (played by Verónica Echegui), determine Cosme’s youngest son Jorge (played by Brays Efe) as an outside consultant to work the case with David.
So now, the two will have to deal with their differences to solve the case before it gets to greater consequences.
Unknown Origins opens with something that I have to address. They present cops as the closest to heroes we have, and this is not necessarily the truth. I’ll explain.
We all know stories of cops doing heroic deeds, like saving people from imminent danger or even helping a woman give birth. So a cop can be heroic, and we associate them with “serving and protecting” the people.
However, as far as I know, the police are born to oppress and control the population, not to serve and protect. In the capitalist state, the priority of a police force is to protect private property and the powerful people who own it.
For today, I’ll not deepen the discussion, because I need more time to gather the sources and make an honest discussion. So’ll let’s leave it for a movie or series that has policing as a more central theme of it. And if during my research I change my mind or see that I was wrong, I ratify it there.
The film has an interesting story that has some similarities to David Fincher’s Sev7en, a fact that it’s even acknowledged in the movie with a joke. But it also has some similarities to Major Grom: Plague Doctor, our last review.
Both movies have: A trio composed of a moody cop, a nerdy sidekick and an attractive woman who is the protagonist love interest but also fundamental for the plot. Also, the cop has an older cop as a mentor. And lastly, the villain wears a plague doctor mask.
I believe these similarities were a coincidence, because the movies were released less than eight months apart. I think it has much more to do with clichés and formulas than anything else. It happens.
By the way, most of the clichés present in the movie are deliberate and acknowledged with jokes, because the killings recreate elements from comics, so it’s inevitable to find familiar elements here and there.
The mystery is intriguing for most of the movie. Unfortunately, the ending gets a little simplistic and even a little lazy. However, it’s not the type of ending that ruined the film.
On top of the mystery, we have a lot of humor. It’s a very funny movie, but I laughed more the first time I watched and it might have something to do with the language.
Since the first time I watched I wasn’t alone, I watched it dubbed in Portuguese and it was hilarious. Now, I re-watched in Spanish, and it was funny, but not as much.
I feel the characters are sufficiently good to drive the story forward, but they’re not so great overall. The two guys even have backstories that explain a little about their personality, but that’s not all a character need. Most of the characters lack nuance, they needed more traits to be believable.
Besides that, the bond between characters, especially David with everyone else is weak. I’ll only mention his romance with Norma. There’s nothing going on there. It seems they just decided they’re both attractive, so let’s mate them.
Anyway, the acting is all great. I liked a lot Brays Efe and Verónica Echegui. Javier Rey is bland for most of the movie, but I believe the problem is with the character and not with performance, because when he has a rampant of emotion, he delivers.
The costumes and design of the locations are also on point. The wardrobe of the characters and even the superhero costume are excellent, but what I liked the most was the settings.
Jorge’s shop is the best in the movie, it’s really outstanding, also the crime scenes are really great.
Talking about crime scenes, the effects are also excellent, the gory corpses in special. However, in the end, there’s a melted face that was awful. The person puts on a hood that looks floating around the cheap-looking face. It was really bad.
Unknown Origins is an enjoyable film with a great cast and intriguing mystery that didn’t end it so well, also the characters could have been more nuanced. To conclude, what I liked had a bigger impact than what I didn’t like, so I’ll give Unknown Origins a 7!
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