King of the Hill, aka El Rey de la Montana

King of the Hill (2007)

King of the Hill (2007)

This is the sort of movie that I can really get behind in a sometimes-bad-things-just-happen-to-good-people sort of way.  A guy driving through the countryside stumbles into the sights of a sniper whose only motivation seems to be shooting random people on the road.  Stranded in the wilderness, the only help he can find comes in the form of an equally lonely and solitary girl who robbed him after a chance encounter in a gas station restroom.

It’s all random chance, no over-arcing stories or schemes or grand motivation and it works.  The reveal on the sniper even works and their motivation makes the whole thing all the more nihilistic.  That’s what the movie gets right.  There’s action, but not enough to make it an adrenalin-charged action flick, and enough suspense and tension to keep you riveted without dragging through lots of extra downtime.

The writing is questionable, though.  It’s a Spanish-language film, though, so I won’t beat it up for that because it’s not terrible and some may have been lost in the translation – especially since the subtitles often don’t match the dubbed English version.  The ending nearly kills it, though, and is basically everything that we in the States hate about the Euros and their movies.  It goes from a man strained to the limit, locked in a life and death struggle for his life to lots of poignant crying.  It’s also not particularly well done with some pretty key stuff taking place off camera either by design, an inability to execute what the director wanted to do convincingly or crappy cinematography.

An overly melodramatic conclusion renders a decent chunk of what got us to that point null, but for most of its run-time the film delivers.

Stars: 3/5

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