Inspired by the real-life case of Mikel Lejarza, El Lobo stands squarely in the tradition of Costa Gavras' melodramatic political thrillers. Eduardo Noriega impresses as a builder coerced by a secret service official (José Coronado) into joining ETA to provide the authorities with insider information. Personally involved in a series of shootings, bombings, prison breaks and bank robberies, The Wolf realises that to his handlers he's an entirely expendable asset.
Given extra topicality by the recent murder of IRA double-agent Denis Donaldson, El Lobo explores the internal splits within both ETA and the state's security forces. While Mélanie Doutey's love interest fails to convince and director Miguel Courtois unimaginatively falls back on slow-motion in key scenes, El Lobo still offers a satisfying blend of muscular action and coherent analysis.