'The Tribe' - A Review (Netflix)
I watch so as you may not have to.
Fidel's (Paco León), an unpopular human resources manager for a large company, life falls apart when he is caught, on film, having an affair with a colleague as company workers protest about the recent layoffs he implemented. Unable to extricate himself from a sexual position, he and his conquest are removed by an ambulance crew through the office, much to the delight of disgruntled staff who film the embarrassed pair, the resulting video going viral on the internet.
Fidel gets fired from the company and his wife divorces him. In an effort to try and regain some semblance of control in his life, Fidel, who was adopted, contacts his biological mother. Virginia (Carmen Machi), is eager to meet the child she gave up for adoption as a 16-year-old some 35 years before. She makes her way to the meeting point.
As Fidel waits to meet his mother, he is doused with water by the waiter, Juanjo (Julián López). Juanjo tells him that he was one of the people who he let go and that it cost him his home and his family. Fidel leaves as Virginia arrives. She recognises him and tries to stop him. He is no longer interested in meeting her, saying he only contacted her because he was told to do so by his therapist.
His life a mess and not seeing much of a point to anything, Fidel steps in front of a bus and is knocked down. Juanjo steals his backpack in the commotion outside the coffee shop. Virginia goes to the hospital with him. When he wakes up the next day, he has lost his memory. Unable to tell Virginia where he lives or even who he is, she takes him home with her to Badalona. Fidel acts like a young boy, no longer exhibiting the filters of adulthood, saying what he thinks.
At her home, Fidel meets her two sons, his brothers, Maikel (Manuel Huedo) and Elton (Artur Busquets). Both are unemployed and lazy, spending their days watching television and partying at night. They do not embrace Fidel as much as Virginia. Virginia leaves him with the two brothers. She goes to her dance class.
At the class, one of her friends, policewoman Cati (Maite Sandoval) finds his backpack when out on a raid, finding Fidel's information. Virginia, now furnished with his full name, looks him up on the internet and finds out about his troubled past and sees the infamous internet video. She does not let on to anybody, not even Fidel.
Maikel and Elton kick Fidel out and he wanders around town, ending up at the dance studio where Virginia does her classes. He meets Maribel (Maribel del Pino). Maribel calls Virginia. Virginia goes to get him and takes him to Luciano (Luis Bermejo). Luciano is his biological father. Virginia gets him to employ Fidel so as to keep him occupied during the day.
Fidel joins the dance class. He is attracted to Maribel. A television junior producer hears about the dance troupe and recognises Fidel. He tells his head producer about the troupe. She is not interested in a mature ladies dance troupe. He tells her about Fidel, reminding her of the infamous video. She agrees to have the troupe on the show.
Fidel inspires the women to work harder than ever to get onto the television show. They succeed and he gets closer to Maribel. They get amorous but, unfortunately, it makes his memory return. Fidel feels terrible for his past deeds and leaves, returning to Barcelona. Virginia goes to get him and persuades him to go on with the show.
He goes on to the show and is exposed as the internet sensation that he was. He accepts that he was an awful person and they dance. The end.
The Tribe or La Tribe is an easy feel good Spanish comedy, with Paco León’s central performance, especially after his amnesia, carrying the film. Carmen Machi’s Virginia is also wonderfully feisty and a positive presence, her happy character pulling all the parts of the film together. Written by Fernando Colomo and Yolanda Garcia Serrano, with Colomo also on directing duties, the film bumps along at a good pace, never flagging to get too serious or preachy.
Though not laugh out loud funny, there are elements and scenes in the film that are very amusing. Manuel Huedo and Artur Busquets as the layabout brothers, even though they do not get a lot of screen time, are very funny.
The Tribe is a somewhat farfetched premise and truthfully should not work, but the whole film is done with such gusto and heart that you cannot help but be caught up in the joy of it. At 90 minutes long, it is a perfect length for a light comedy such as it is and worth a look if you want to watch something uplifting and not too taxing.