Los Iniciados, or The Initiated in English, is a new Spanish crime thriller film on Amazon Prime based on the works of Colombian novelist Mario Mendoza. The film presents the near future, in which an unnamed Spanish city goes through a horrific water shortage that has been forcing helpless people to drink toxic rainwater. Amidst such a scenario, a struggling journalist named Frank Molina investigates the curious disappearances of numerous people and tries to uncover who the real perpetrator is. With a fairly intriguing plot and overall good execution, The Initiated is an entertaining and thrilling film to watch, although its ending is rather predictable.
‘The Initiated’ Plot Summary: What Happens In The Film?
The Initiated begins on a rain-soaked night in the dark alleys of an unnamed Spanish city, where a young couple and their baby are found dead from a possible drug overdose. A veteran journalist, who now works for a mere tabloid, asks to enter the crime scene to take a look at the bodies. Despite being turned down initially, the journalist, Frank Molina, threatens his way inside and finds out that the woman is still alive, but the police have simply neglected her. The victims are homeless people belonging to the lowest strata of society, and so the authorities are least bothered about them. This city, in particular, has been going through a terrible drinking water crisis, and many have to resort to drinking the rainwater that falls almost every day at the place. However, this rainwater is extremely toxic, causing the drinker to fall sick and even die, and Frank understands that the couple, in this case, have also died in a similar manner.
With the water shortage growing exponentially over time, the city’s mayor, Ignacio Pombo, announces a new project to counter the shortage and resulting sickness. The new project, named the Kasbah Development Plan, is expected to make the lives of those living in the particular area called Kasbah easier, and this helps young Ignacio’s support in the region grow. The son of the previous mayor and a veteran politician, Augusto Pombo, Ignacio is very keen on becoming a popular and trusted figure. Fearing a scandal, he keeps his romantic relationship with a young wrestler named Gaby Lopez secret from the world.
Gaby’s best friend, Monica Perea, who is also an investigative journalist by profession, has been working on a case in which she has been looking into the mysterious disappearances of a number of people from Kasbah. Now intending to publish the piece, she approaches Frank Molina for help, but the man turns her down and tells her to meet him the next day. In a shocking turn of events, somebody breaks into Monica’s apartment on this night, and she is found dead on the streets, as it is made to look like she has committed suicide. Gravely saddened by this death and also on the insistence of Gaby, Frank starts to investigate this case by himself, intending to solve the mystery of the disappearing people.
What Does Frank Find Through His Investigation?
Once Frank Molina starts his investigation, he is informed by Gaby that Monica’s body is also missing from the morgue and that the police were not bothered despite knowing about it. This was the case with all of the other missing people, too; no bodies were found, and no conclusive proof of their being dead existed anywhere. Only family members and relatives reported that these people had gone missing, and Frank met with one such family member whose brother had disappeared. Speaking with the woman, Frank finds out that her brother, Leo Chamorro, owned a foundry at the Kasbah, and someone was trying to buy it from him. Leo did not want to sell the property, and after rejecting the offers a number of times, the man completely disappeared. Later on, following another disappearance case, the journalist finds out that a man named Torres had been incessantly asked to sell off his land to some mysterious buyers, and when he repeatedly refused, Torres went missing as well.
While conducting these investigations, Frank Molina also has to go through external and internal troubles as the man himself is attacked. A younger man, clearly a hired assassin, sneaks into the journalist’s house and strangles him but goes away after leaving a warning. Frank obviously does not stop his work, and he tracks down Leo’s old abandoned foundry. At this place, he discovers a tank-like structure inside which he finds parts of a human skull and also a necklace worn by someone. Seeing the same assassin as earlier, whose name is Freddy, at the foundry now confirms what has been going on. Frank realizes that it must be Freddy who went after all the missing individuals, killed them, and brought them back to the foundry, where their bodies were burned away in the tank-like incinerator. Frank manages to escape and continues his search. In his personal life also, the journalist gets affected by and almost obsessed with this case, much to the anguish of his sister Carmen. It is also revealed that the man suffers from bipolar disorder and had some mental breakdowns some months earlier, which had cost him his job at the reputed newspaper, following which he was writing for the tabloid. Later on in The Initiated, Frank gets so affected by the case that he nears another breakdown as the man walks around the city angrily, ranting and speaking to himself about the matter.
When the investigation has taken on an overall shape, quite literally, as it is all chalked out on the walls of Frank’s apartment, it becomes apparent that everyone who had gone missing owned properties around the Kasbah area. Marking all these properties on the map, Frank finds out that these buildings all encircled one particular landmark, a church. Going to the place once again, he sees the head priest, Father Lazaro, going down a flight of stairs to the underground, and he follows him. Frank finds himself inside a maze of underground tunnels, only to find an almost unbelievable scene. The man comes across a small stream of natural water flowing out of one end of the tunnel, with a number of small plants growing around the stream. It is very evident that this stream was a source of clean, drinkable water, a very rare find in this shortage- and disease-stricken city. Therefore, it becomes clear to Frank that the reason people were being killed was this very secret stream. Although it was only Father Lazaro who admittedly knew about this stream, someone else had found out about it and was trying to get access to it. Since none of the people who owned houses and establishments near the area could be told of this stream, the mysterious seller had no way to convince them to sell off their properties. So, instead of putting much effort into negotiating, they had been killing off the people and making them disappear through the assassin Freddy.
While this major clue makes things slightly clearer, how buying the buildings around the area could lead to accessing the natural water stream still remains a mystery. For quite some time since the beginning, The Initiated intentionally makes it seem like the mayor, Ignacio Pombo, might have something to do with these disappearances, especially because of his Kasbah Development Plan. It initially seems like Ignacio has been emptying the particular spot around Kasbah to ease the construction of his development plan, which would surely help him win re-election. The man is indeed very driven towards this particular success, that of winning re-election and establishing himself as a popular and loved politician, just like his father. It is also revealed a bit later, through his conversation with his fiancée Veronica, that despite gaining popularity among the voters, Ignacio’s reputation among his own councilmen. This crisis also makes it seem like he could be the one who had been trying to access the secret natural water stream and somehow turn the entire matter in his favor. However, as it is then revealed, Ignacio does not have any idea about this secret stream or the disappearances.
Who Was The Real Perpetrator?
As it turns out, the real perpetrator behind the murders of the people, including Monica Perea, was not Ignacio Pombo but his father, Augusto. The senior politician is gradually developing into a most deplorable character who does not think about anybody other than himself. Due to the horrible effects of the treacherous drought that had hit the country over the previous few years, Augusto Pombo himself had gotten sick. The toxic rainfall that the place receives on a regular basis is known to cause skin disorders, and Augusto develops some of these. Told by doctors that he needed clean water very soon in order to keep his illness in check, Augusto had grown desperate to find any source for it and had been looking for a place called the Snake’s Nest. The Snake’s Nest, which was believed to be just a legend that people spread to still have hope, was some natural water stream that still existed somewhere in the city’s underground.
As it becomes apparent, the Snake’s Nest was the place that Frank Molina found underneath the church, and Augusto had also found a map of the place. It was for this reason that he hired Freddy to get rid of all the people living or working in buildings around the area. With the buildings empty and without any owners, they could be easily brought under the Kasbah Development Plan, and now Augusto wanted his son to include a special clause in the documents of the project. He tells his son to enable the privatization of the subsoil through his new mayoral bill so that everything underground beneath the area where the development would take place could be taken into control by the Pombo family. This would ensure a steady stream of natural water for Augusto, with which his illness could be cured, and it was for this reason that he had ordered numerous people to be killed. When Monica had started to investigate the case and was about to publish about it, Augusto got her killed off by Freddy.
‘The Initiated’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Frank Molina And Gaby Lopez?
Even though Frank gets an idea about the whole plan of Augusto, he still needs proof of it before writing about the gross corruption and murders. For this, he goes to a gala party organized by the mayor’s office and asks to speak with Ignacio. The guards at the gate take away his voice recorder, but Frank then also manages to steal it back and hide it in his own pocket. It is Augusto who comes out to have a word with him then, and when the journalist confronts him, the veteran politician accepts everything and boasts about the fact that nobody can stop him. However, Frank had his recorder running inside his pocket all this time, and he had recorded the whole conversation.
Although Frank is dragged away from the place, nobody notices him dropping the recorder, except for Ignacio, who picks it up and gives it a listen. He confronts his father about the matter, and Augusto accepts it, also assuring that Ignacio’s term as mayor would not come under any threat. While Frank has been taken away by Freddy to be killed and burned away, the only remaining person who has some idea about the plan is Gaby, for the journalist had told her about it. To remove this one remaining link, Augusto tells Ignacio to go and kill Gaby. The mayor reaches his girlfriend’s apartment and then tries to convince her not to tell anyone about what she found there. Ignacio now assures her that he will take action against his father for the horrific murders, especially that of Gaby’s beloved friend Monica, but he promises to do so only after the vote for the bill has been passed. Quite clearly, Ignacio is still very determined to stabilize his reputation as mayor, and so he wants to delay justice for it. Gaby obviously does not agree to this, and instead, a fight breaks off between the two. Ignacio does not mind choking the woman he apparently loved, and for some time, it seems like Gaby has been killed.
However, the woman then wakes up after having passed out, and it is Ignacio who is dead instead, from injuries he got when Gaby stabbed him. During this time, Frank Molina had also been fighting for his own survival against Freddy, and ultimately, he managed to overpower the assassin and incinerate him in the tank. When Frank and Gaby meet, she gives him his voice recorder, which she had taken from Ignacio’s body. Gaby is obviously suspected and wanted for the murder, and she says that she will fight it out somehow. Frank, on the other side, writes about the massive corruption in the city, and he mentions Monica Perea as the co-author of the article, paying respect to the investigation she had first done. With the help of this extremely important work, Augusto Pombo is arrested by the police because of all the murders he had ordered to be committed.