“El Lobo” is a film that beautifully melds together an artistic visual experience with a complicated, and multifaceted story about nationalism and moral ambiguity . The story involves a man, Txema, who is incredibly passionate towards his homeland – the Basque country – but due to some unforeseen circumstances he ends up being recruited by the Spanish government to infiltrate ETA. In the process he undergoes tribulations that cause him to lose his wife and question what it means to love his country. His journey makes him question exactly how far he is willing to go for his country, and he is ultimately forced to choose between what he believes is the lesser of two evils. On one hand, he must consider helping the nationalist terrorist organization ETA, whose goal is Basque independence, or the Spanish government, who wishes to suppress ETA for their own personal gain.
After being exposed to both sides of this war, Txema decides that the means by which ETA wishes to gain independence are too destructive and chooses to side with the Spanish government. He believes that the government wishes to put an end to the fighting for the good of the people. However, he soon finds out that the government wants to end the fighting only temporarily in order to be looked favorably upon by the international community. At this realization Txema’s world is shattered knowing that he was merely a puppet in a proxy war. After this he is hated by the members of ETA and forced to leave the Basque region, all while being dismissed by the Spanish police force. The movie’s tragic end highlights the futility of the conflict and demonstrates how people’s lives were ruined by violence on both sides.