I must have been 4 or 5 years old when I first watched it. The bickering between the two characters was instantly fascinating. They were friends, partners in crime, but always criticizing each other. I liked that. In the town I grew up in, there was a different social code than anywhere else, if you like someone you constantly insult, as brutally as you can, and you attack them, mostly verbally. If you hate someone, you’re polite to them or you just ignore them. It’s odd, but it’s more honest. It’s a cultural thing I haven’t experienced anywhere else in the world.

What I also liked was the end.

SPOILER ALERT.

(These days the worst you can do to a person is to tell them how a movie or a series ends…)

When they run into the fire of hundreds of gunmen at the end, I was deeply moved.

The laborer culture of my home town had something fatalistic about it, something kamikaze, a we are doomed, but let’s just do or die mentality.

I kept rewatching the end, it deeply resonated within me.

My father told me that they may have survived, that they were spotted later in other countries. Probably just to cheer me up. But even then I could live with the fact that they had died, riddled with bullets, fighting a desperate fight alongside each other.

Looking back, I think it may have influenced what I expect from male friendships, fierce loyality, the ‘right’ to harshly criticize each other but move on together anyway, or no, because you can bash each other, and a willingness to plunge into impossible adventures.

Perhaps that’s why I did follow my friend, Benjamin, into a modern hellish adventure. Objectively speaking you’d have to be insane to swap the well-organized, caring nanny state (I mean that in the best possible way) that is Belgium for the grim, wild, tough to make ends meet, in a sense even lawless, existence of Slovakia, the second most corrupt country in Europe.