Tribeca Review: One Night With Adela


Revenge thrillers are one of my favorite sub-genres of film. I love to watch a person seek righteous justice against those that have done them wrong and the cathartic comeuppance their antagonizers receive is always delicious. It’s such a delicious feeling when it does happen, so you’re always on the edge of your seat waiting for it to happen. One Night With Adela attempts to have this violent, drug-filled rampage of karmic justice, but the reality is it’s boring and drawn out beyond belief. There are brief splashes of satisfaction, but they’re buried under mounds upon mounds of unbearable tedium. 

One Night With Adela (Una Noche Con Adela) | International Official Trailer

One Night With Adela
Director: Hugo Ruiz
Release Date: June 8, 2023 (Tribeca Film Festival)

One night in Madrid, a street sweeper named Adela (Laura Galan) is sexually assaulted in the streets. After she kills the man and covers it up, she begins to enact retribution on the people that wronged her and brought her to this point. To say any more would spoil the game somewhat as we don’t know who her targets are, but it’s pretty easy to piece them together as we see Adela’s rage start to boil over. 

So the plot is pretty dang simple. Adela is pissed and she’s gonna hurt people. There’s not much else going on here other than peeling back the layers of why Adela is the way she is and how society has turned her into this mean and rage-filled person. Yet for as poor as I find it to victim blame, I never found myself rooting for Adela. Our introduction to her is us witnessing her murder a drunken idiot and while that guy isn’t sympathetic by any definition of the word, One Night With Adela does nothing to paint Adela as someone we should be rooting for. She’s crass, nasty, self-loathing, and just overall unpleasant. She’s undeniably the antagonist, but you don’t have to necessarily like the person conducting their revenge. You can attempt to have an emotional connection to them, but because of Adela’s nastiness, it’s impossible to root for her.

First-time director Hugo Ruiz tries to make things a bit more interesting for the audience by framing the film as a single long take, and it is impressive to look at but leads to minutes on end of just watching Adela walk or drive around with nothing happening. Sometimes she’ll talk to a radio announcer, other times she’s listening to music, but most of the time it’s just silence. There’s so little actually happening that the film had me checking my phone for the time and staring in disbelief at how little time had actually passed. I feel like Ruiz had this neat idea, but didn’t know how it would actually come across when put to film.

There are brief moments of violence and action that do work, but really the only scene in the film worth mentioning is a moment that happens half an hour before the film ends. It plays with perspective and actually uses the one-shot gimmick to great effect, leaving you with a good reveal that puts everything into perspective. Then the film goes right back to plodding around with a monumental exposition dump right at the very end that puts all of its themes on a platter and kicks it over to you. Themes of generational trauma, religion, and nature versus nurture all are thrown at you with little discussion, just Adela ranting and raving about each of them and questioning if that’s really all this was about.

It all just comes across as sloppy and poorly handled. One Night With Adela feels like Ruiz was never told no to several of his ideas and the result is a bloated slog of a movie that laboriously moves from one scene to the next. It’s not very graceful and doesn’t have any moments that pop out at audiences except for a single scene, but even that scene is ruined. This is just an unpleasant movie from start to finish that had me question how this got into the Tribeca Film Festival. There are a plethora of bad decisions made in the making of this film that resulted in one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in all of my years attending the Tribeca Film Festival. Sometimes less is more and a fancy trick like doing a film in a single take isn’t enough to redeem a poor story, rotten character, and amateurish delivery.



Protracted and bloated beyond all belief, One Night With Adela is a slog of a watch that culminates in a nothing of an ending with only glimpses of competency keeping you awake.

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.