Outlaws, or The Laws of the Border (Las Leyes de la Frontera), is a Spanish movie set in late 70s Spain which portrays the Quinqui genre of Spanish Film, which was popular in the 70s and 80s.
Netflix film Outlaws follows the story of Ignacio Cañas, aka Nacho, a 17 years old high schooler who is shy and often gets bullied by his classmates. He does not have friends and spends time at home or plays games in the arcade alone. In the summer of 1978, Nacho makes new friends who change his life forever. But does his life change for good or for bad?
‘Outlaws’ Plot Summary
Nacho is a teenager who wears glasses and has good boy looks. His classmates bully him everywhere, whether it’s drowning him in the swimming pool or following him to the movie theatre just to beat him. He is not communicative with his parents or siblings either. They most probably have no idea of what he does outside or that he is getting bullied.
He often plays at the arcade alone. Later, the arcade owner offers him a job in exchange for playing ten free games every day. On his summer job in the arcade, he meets Tere and Zarco. Both of them are involved in illegal activities and are known to cause trouble. Nacho is instantly attracted to Tere, which leads him to eventually become friends with her and Zarco. They get closer as Nacho starts hanging out with Tere, Zarco, and their gang, the La Font cafe, where they carry out their illegal activities like trading drugs.
How Boes Nacho Become Gafitas?
Nacho finds a group of friends for the first time in his life. Nachete, who would spend his time alone at home, now comes home late. Nacho has now become Gafitas (meaning glasses in Spanish), as his friends called him. He does many things for the first time because of his new friends. Nacho does drugs, takes booze, is an ally in a crime or two, and sleeps with a prostitute. He does all this while still maintaining innocence in him. He’s reluctant to do all these but does it for Tere.
With the gang, Gafitas becomes part of multiple drug heists in the town. They would steal drugs from the chemist stores and sell them. That’s how they become the wanted gang of the town. While on the way to a drug deal, one of the gang members die by falling off the cliff, and one gets injured. After this incident, others decide to go underground for some time. All the gang members lived in poverty, already had criminal records, and had nothing to lose; except Gafitas. He came from a decent family, was going to school, and hence had a lot to lose. Zarco advises Gafitas to stay low and try to never come back to the gang.
Can Nacho’s Father Save Him?
After the Police go on the lookout for the drugstore thieves, Nacho’s gang goes underground, and he tries to follow Zarco’s advice to not return to the La Font. However, Gafitas misses Tere, so he finds out her address and meets her at her house. She says they shouldn’t meet, but he insists, so she tells him to meet the gang at La Font the next day. Zarco plans a heist on the bank when they all meet, but they are short of one member. They hesitantly take Chino in, but Zarco thinks that he is not reliable. While on the armed heist, Chino proves Zarco’s doubts to be true. He snitches to the Police, and when Tere finds out about it, it gets too late.
Police arrive on the crime site when the remaining three gang members, including Zarco and Gafitas, run away in the car. The police force follows them till the very end. All three of them get shot, one dies and, Zarco gets caught by the Police when he threatens Gafitas to kill himself if he doesn’t run away. Gafitas, wounded by a bullet scratch, runs away and reaches home somehow. When his family sees him wounded, they get worried, and his father asks him firmly to tell the truth if he needs his help, to which he responds with truth and cries.
‘Outlaws’ Ending Explained
Nacho’s father plans a fake alibi for him. He takes him on vacation at a friend’s place and claims to have been there with him for a week. Nacho’s mother tells Police the same when they come looking for Nacho. Police are certain that it is him, and they go to take Nacho in custody. When they reach the place, Nacho is asleep, and his father says that the injury to his hand is from a small fishing accident. The police officer asks Nacho’s father to change his statement while he still has a chance; this is when he tells the officer the story of how his father saved him from going to jail by bribing the police officer.
The adamant police officer refuses to settle until he sees a picture of Nacho’s father and his friend together. He asks him if his friend knows about the truth. When he replies affirmatively, the police officer immediately reacts and tells the other officer to leave Nacho alone, possibly because the man in the picture is the police officer’s father. Fortunately, Nacho gets out of trouble. 28 years later, Nacho, now a lawyer, receives a letter from Tere to help Zarco get out o Jail. When Nacho meets Zarco in jail, Tere has already passed away. Thus Zarco, her half-brother, couldn’t see her for the last time.
Life isn’t fair to everyone. It was never fair to Zarco, a little fair to Tere, much fairer to Nacho. Situations make people behave accordingly. Sometimes, it is a choice; sometimes, it’s fate. They all had become outlaws by choice, but fate had something else written for them.
Outlaws, or The Laws of the Border (Las Leyes de la Frontera in Spanish) is a 2021 Crime Thriller film directed by Daniel Monzón. It is streaming on Netflix.