We learn right at the top of 70 Binladens that a “Binladen” is term meant to indicate an amount of money many have heard of but few have seen (I've also seen the film referred to in English as 70 Big Ones, but that name sucks). So don’t go in expecting some kind of film about the War on Terror or anything like that. Instead, 70 Binladens offers a thoughtfully-constructed and perfectly entertaining bank robbery drama, something I’m pretty much always happy to see.
The film eases into the situation focused on Raquel, a woman trying to secure a loan for a very specific amount of money needed immediately. Supposedly, it will help her get reunited with her six-year-old daughter. The mechanisms of the loan are tricky and take some doing. In the end, however, she succeeds in winning her funds. Except right at the last minute, two robbers burst into the bank with guns, taking everyone hostage. Soon after, a shooting brings the police and Raquel’s money gets further and further away.
It’s probably safe to say we’ve all seen our fair share of bank robbery films. This one develops into chaos immediately which is exciting because there is still an entire narrative to fill. The situation is definitely going to evolve in a particular direction, but we have no idea what direction that will be.
It ends up being all about Raquel, who it turns out is a brilliant strategist, manipulating both the thieves and the cops outside to ensure she not only survives the night but somehow does so with the money she came for in the first place. I won’t divulge how she goes about doing this except to say her machinations and drive is always thrilling and cool. This is a great character and Raquel performs her perfectly - cold but calculating and quietly aggressive at all times.
She gets help from a great supporting cast as well. Nathalie Poza and Hugo Silva are both unrecognizable as the pair of crooks, Lola and Jonan. Scuzzy and immediately in over their head, we find them simultaneously repulsive and sympathetic. Meanwhile, the cops outside do their best as well, despite having almost nothing to go on beyond what Raquel gives them. Both sides of the incident take a moment away from the intensity to enjoy an important soccer match on television. This isn't really a film about villains; you kind of feel for everybody.
But it all comes down to Raquel, played by a fierce and incredible Emma Suárez. The film goes so far as to confirm her genius IQ near the end just to make sure we all know we're dealing with a Sherlock-type figure here, up against a wall and dealing with it in the most graceful way possible. While I love a good bank robbery movie - and this does rank as a good bank robbery movie - what I really came away with is an urge to see more Raquel adventures where she casually outsmarts and manipulates everyone on earth.