★★★ Directed by: #FernandoGonzálezMolina
Director Fernando González Molina wraps up his screen adaptation of Dolores Redondo’s Baztan trilogy with Offering to the Storm. Debuting on Netflix on 24th July, Molina’s intricate thriller sees Maria Etura reprise her role as Policía Foral inspector Amaia Salazar.
When a man is arrested after fleeing with the body of his dead baby, Amaia is called in to investigate. Discovering that the sudden death was in fact murder, Amaia and her team uncover a further terrible truth; that the father himself was responsible with the intention of making his child a sacrificial offering. As Amaia probes further, she discovers the haunting superstitions enveloping Baztan, whilst searching for her missing mother and reigniting an affair with judge Juez Markina (Leonardo Sbaraglia).
Delayed to the COVID-19 pandemic, Offering to the Storm is a lengthy conclusion to Redondo’s series which offers a myriad of twists and turns in its 140 minutes. Despite the length, Molina keeps the action moving fluently and concludes with a predictable but satisfying resolution which at least answers the questions posed by Redondo and Luiso Berdejo’s convoluted script. As Amaia, Etura is reminiscent of Luisana Lopilato in Alejandro Montiel’s Perdida series, or perhaps even Clarice Starling from Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Letcter novels. Sbaragilla is suitably enigmatic and the climatic revelation between him and Etura is almost evocative of the chilling finale of Rosemary’s Baby, even if we can admittedly see where everything is leading.
The echo of Polanski’s classic is elsewhere in Molinal’s film, most obviously with its central plot of an evil cult taking babies for satanic rituals. There are other connections too. Like Polanski, Montiel refrains from overindulging in supernatural spectacle; the true chills of the piece lie in the contrast between its settings. Here, the outwardly idyllic Baztan shields the unimaginable horrors which lurk beneath the surface. Throughout the film, Molina also signals the iconography of Catholic Spain as Amaia probes further into the uncomfortable truths hidden deep in the dark Baztan streets and graveyards. The result is a quietly atmospheric thriller which follows in the tradition of the best of the genre; that the very ideas of the things we don't see is where the real terror lies.
With its tale of child murders, Molina's largely journalistic approach and lengthy running time, Offering to the Storm is not necessarily an easy watch. Redondo’s fans though will no doubt relish this meaty conclusion to the trilogy which might not send pulses racing but certainly makes for a compelling enough crime thriller.