There's an impressive, careful complexity to DarkBlueAlmostBlack that belies the inexperience of first-time director Daniel Sánchez Arévalo. When one learns that he's been a screenwriter for 15 years, however, the unassuming detail of his film becomes less of a surprise. In his debut feature, Arévalo takes a story -- an impotent prison inmate enlists his bother to impregnate his girlfriend, a fellow prisoner desperate for a maternity ward move -- ripe for obvious humor and unsubtle sex jokes and turns it into a subtle, rewarding exploration of family, and the lies we tell ourselves to survive.
The ostensible star of Arévalo's film is Jorge (Quim Gutiérrez), a lonely, ambitious 20-something who has spent the last seven years working as a janitor and caring for his invalid father. Going to school part-time since his father's stroke, Jorge managed to get a degree in business administration, but the seven years in school and his unmanageable home situation conspire to get him nothing but rejection in his frequent, desperate job interviews. By turns resigned and resentful, Jorge simultaneously hates his father for trapping him and is plagued by guilt because the two were fighting when the stroke hit all those years ago.