From the same title – "The Pioneer" – the HBO series about Jesus Gil reveals his inclination for an aseptic and purely descriptive style. And it is a success, as nothing more unbearable for the viewer than the director's intention to paint his character as Jack the Ripper or as Saint Teresa of Calcutta, as appropriate to the case. But this narrative contentment runs the risk of falling into the insubstantial and of creating confusion when it tries to do just the opposite.
In the case of "The Pioneer" (pioneer of what?), It seems that the writers have put excessive zeal in sterilizing his speech so that not a word goes beyond those pronounced by the interviewed. This decision is more debatable, because in this type of business it can happen that one pays to take home a damaged product. A practice, by the way, that has a great tradition in the Gil family, from those times when the grandfather Jesus used to throw sawdust in the engine of his trucks so that the buyer would not notice the noise they made. In the first episode of "El Pionero" the protagonism of Gil's sons and brothers is obvious, who obviously transmit a close and carefree image of the character that blurs his true nature.
The great achievement of Gil, and the reason why his figure seduces and disturbed at the same time, was the exceptional popularity he achieved despite all his known scandals and corruption. Several testimonies, both from relatives and critics, give the impression that Gil was forgiven everything for "visionary", "brave", "charismatic" … It is missing a greater distance when it comes to capturing that fascination that Gil aroused and that used to culminate in the indulgence with the entanglements and the picaresque of the businessman. There are passages of the first chapter that could calmly end up being projected in the conferences of some extrovert coach who wants to show how an astute and ambitious businessman should behave.
The other downside that can be put to "The Pioneer" is its inexplicable temporal structure. In agreement that the linear narration could be monotonous and predictable, but this unconnected succession of subjects makes complicated to form a general idea of the plot. Despite the dispersion with which it is narrated, the story of Gil is vibrant and the documentary maker gets a convincing chronicle of the megalomaniacal delirium of an entrepreneur and the enthusiasm with which many received their blunders. Because the decisive factor in this story is not that Gil created Marbella, but that Spain created Gil.
At this point, the story of "The Pioneer" links perfectly with contemporary discomfort regarding the apogee of authoritarian populism and the emergence of messianic leaders. The most accurate ideological manifesto of these movements was formulated by Gil on an election night from the balcony of the town hall of Marbella: "We are going to solve all the problems of Spain, whatever they are". Seeing Gil cajole the Marbellans painting them a future of abundance it is inevitable to feel that the world has gone worse these years: before the populists dared to promise that we would all become rich and now they can not even guarantee that we will not end up poor. (tagsToTranslate) pioneer