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Review: El Presidente is Convoluted but Exhilarating

June 5, 2020
4 min read

In the summer of 2015, a hefty case of corruption by officials and associates of FIFA was disclosed and it took the world of the “king sport” by storm. With bribery, fraud, and money laundering at its fore, the so-called Fifa-gate became one of the biggest scandals that hit the world of football. Academy Award Winner, Armando Bó, draws his inspiration from this real-life incident and gives you an unapologetic and wildly exhilarating look at this subject. ’El Presidente’ makes you look at the lives of those who are drowning in corruption in the backdrops of a sport that we hold so close to our hearts. And as much as you perceive the lives of these corrupt officials with awe, you are in no way inspired to be anything close to them.

El Presidente Plot Summary

‘El Presidente’ revolves around CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation) and the powerful officials who run the organization. The primary protagonist of the series is Sergio Jadue, the president of a no-good Chilean club who has big dreams. His wife, hungry for power, further pushes him to rise up to the top of his game. After becoming the President of the Football Federation of Chile, Sergio acquires a position among the powerful members of the CONMEBOL executive committee and that’s where the storyline of the series starts shifting its gears.

Sergio, being the dimwitted man that he is, becomes a snitch for the FBI and helps them unfold the darkest secrets of CONMEBOL. In the meantime, with his power-hungry wife nudging him all the time, he tries to make something of his life as well. Little does he realize that when he’ll fall…he’ll straight away reach rock bottom.

El Presidente Review

Think of ‘El Presidente’ as a biopic that completely defies the generic tropes of the genre. Instead of portraying an inspiring tale of a prominent figure, the show gives you an unflinching look at the unabashed and shameless forces of power that control pretty much everything that goes on behind closed doors of the sport. In all of Armando Bó’s audacity with the series, there are some hilarious moments as well. The comedy that the series derives from its serious subject matter results from its delirious satire which not only makes you laugh but also makes you wince and think at the same time.

At first, ‘El Presidente’ struggles to grab your attention with its slow-burn approach and purposefully convoluted storyline. It jumps back and forth between several timelines, and as a result, you end up losing track of where it’s heading. However, in its second half, it shifts its gears and draws subtle connective threads between all of its plot points leaving almost nothing undone. Although not too extreme with its depiction of debauchery, ‘El Presidente’ sets out to be bold in its own way by portraying characters who relentlessly get involved in questionable acts. And it’s this aspect of the series that even reminds you of intrepid spirit that usually drives many of Martin Scorsese’s films.

As I mentioned earlier, the few initial episodes of the series make it a little hard for you to grab onto the show’s overarching plot. But it’s during these moments that the eclectic performance of Andrés Parra keeps you hooked onto it. Andrés plays the role of Sergio Jadue, who is not your typical protagonist. At the very onset of the series, Sergio dupes his very own team by convincing them that he’ll pay them their pending fees if they win the tournament. When they do win, he simply deceives them again and even takes the credit for their win. Although this itself is enough to make you hate him, with what follows, you can’t help but absolutely despise him. Even so, his character has been written in such an intriguing way that his acts of absurdity and clumsiness surprisingly lure you. Apart from him, Paulina Gaitan, who plays the role of Sergio’s wife, truly shines with her limited screen time and does full justice to her sly characterization.

Amazon Prime has been on a roll lately, especially when it comes to foreign-language dramas. ‘El Presidente’ clearly has the potential to join the ranks among some of the best offerings of the streamer. And regardless of whether you’re into football or not, this one is certainly worth your while.

Rating: 4/5

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