Countless documentaries and movies have been made about deceased Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar — from the popular El patrón del mal series to Narcos, one of Netflix's original productions.
Now comes Loving Pablo, a film by Spanish director Fernando León de Aranoa based on the book Amando a Pablo, odiando a Escobar (Loving Pablo, hating Escobar) by Colombian journalist Virginia Vallejo.
The recently released trailer offers a glimpse of the film, which centers on the intimate relationship between Escobar, played by Javier Bardem, and Vallejo, played by Penélope Cruz.
Although Loving Pablo was filmed in English for marketing reasons, the actors have managed to accentuate the language with an authentic-sounding “paisa” accent.
Criticism over the upcoming film already have been lobbed. Colombian magazine Shock questioned how long Escobar, one of the worst criminals in history, will continue to be a source of commercialization for Hollywood.
“Why doesn’t Hollywood get tired of Pablo Escobar? Remember that Pablo is just one name in the list of criminals represented in movies and on TV, which also includes Tony Montana (Scarface), Tony Soprano, (The Sopranos), Walter White (Breaking Bad), among others.”
Variety referred to the film as a “telenovela,” but highlighted the performances of Bardem and Cruz: “The glitzy casting of Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem is the principal coup of an otherwise superficially soapy retread of Pablo Escobar lore.”
Spain’s El Pais, meanwhile, defined Bardem’s role as a “powerful shot.”
“The remarkable portrayal of Pablo Escobar by the Spanish actor would quench any sexual fantasy: as terrifying as it is repulsive, arrogant and spoiled, the Colombian criminal appears less glamorous than ever,” says the Spanish newspaper’s review.
The film’s release date in the United States is not yet known. In Colombia, the film is scheduled for release on March 9.
Follow Catalina Ruiz Parra on Twitter: @catalinaruiz.