“If all the murders were based on the seven deadly sins, it’d be a lot easier to solve” – Jorge
If you were perhaps wondering what to expect from this Spanish speaking Netflix original, consider that quote as your starting point. Delivered by one of the two leads with practically a wink to the camera, Unknown Origins is a bizarre blend of crime thriller (most noticeably, David Fincher’s Se7en) and superhero origin story.
Taking place in Madrid, Detective David Valentín (Javier Rey) responds to a murder investigation. As is usually the case, the killer is nowhere to be seen, and they’ve left no trace behind them. Except for a snippet from an old comic book that is. Soon, with the help of the almost retired, veteran detective Cosme (Antonio Resines), they discover that a multitude of seemingly unrelated murders are all linked by one thing. Someone’s obsession with superheros.
I won’t be the first to tell you how confusing of a concept that actually is. Not only on paper either, as David Galán Galindo’s befuddled direction gives vibes of a deranged thriller, comic book story, and a buddy cop/comedy all rolled into one package. What seems to hurt this film the most, is that it’s unsure as to which of these themes it fully wants to commit to. Which can make for a rather bewildering viewing experience.
With that being said, there’s a certain charm which goes along with it, and even if you can’t fully comprehend its bat
manshit crazy plot, one of its many elements may entice you to stick around. Whether its the psychological horror angle, which at its roots, is the main focal point of its story. The consistent comic book references, and hero/arch-nemesis dynamic it curve-balls towards you. Or perhaps the weirdest (which says a lot) contribution to the lot, the comedic double act between detective Valentín, and Cosme’s comic book loving son, Jorge (Brays Efe).
By the time the credits roll around, it feels like a totally different picture than what was set up in its opening act. There are undeniable issues regarding its plot, many of its characterisations, and even its visual department leaves a lot to be desired. But very few times (especially this year) has a movie genuinely had me this baffled.
Regardless as to whether or not I believe Galindo’s direction actually acheived what it was supposed to, it’s one of the most surprisingly unpredictable films I’ve seen in recent memory. Also, with the lack of superhero blockbusters at the moment, Netflix’ Unknown Origins may just do enough to scratch that itch.