Is A Man of Action’s Inspector Costello Based on a Real Cop?

Image Credit: Quim Vives/Netflix

Directed by Javier Ruiz Caldera, Netflix’s crime film ‘A Man of Action’ follows the captivating saga of Lucio Urtubia, a Spanish anarchist who sets out to fight capitalism by targeting banks. After robbing several local Parisian banks, Lucio eventually starts robbing the First National City Bank, an American banking giant. He produces several forged traveler’s cheques in the name of the bank and his men cash the same in at numerous branches of the establishment throughout Europe. When Lucio garners international attention, Inspector Costello of the French police tries to hunt him down. Since the Spanish film offers repeated confrontations between the two characters, we have tried to find out whether Costello is based on a real cop. Well, here’s what we found!

Is Inspector Costello Based on a Real Cop?

In ‘A Man of Action,’ Inspector Costello is the first police officer who notices Lucio Urtubia’s growth as an anarchist. Costello makes sure that Lucio is under the authorities’ surveillance day and night, making it difficult for the latter to move forward with his plans to destroy capitalism. The inspector even manages to arrest Lucio along with a bagful of counterfeit dollar bills. Although Lucio manages to get released from prison, Costello doesn’t stop his efforts to capture the anarchist once and for all. The inspector’s obsession to arrest Lucio for good even paves the way for the birth of an extraordinary companionship between two people who choose to stand on different sides of the law.

Image Credit: Quim Vives/Netflix

However, there aren’t any reports that suggest that such a particular police officer tried to hunt down Lucio Urtubia for decades. Inspector Costello can be a fictional character conceived to represent all the police officers who tried to arrest Lucio in the second half of the 20th century. Director Javier Ruiz Caldera and screenwriter Patxi Amezcua might have chosen to represent the French police force through Costello, an archetypal detective character. It isn’t a wonder that Costello seems to be a fictional character since ‘A Man of Action’ isn’t a completely truthful depiction of Lucio’s life.

Caldera’s film is only loosely inspired by Lucio’s life and several characters were conceived or altered by the director and Amezcua for dramatic purposes. Costello can be one such character since his decades-long obsession to arrest Lucio is an integral and dramatic storyline of the film. The explosive relationship between Costello and Lucio reminds us of the numerous detective-criminal relationships we have seen in several neo-noir films. Costello representing the entire French police force also might have helped Caldera to avoid the creation of several cop characters.

Furthermore, Costello is not just another police officer. He represents the notion and significance of law and order as an ideology when Lucio propagates and practices anarchism. Along with the wish to capture the bank robber, Costello also tries to fight the anarchist’s ideology with his own, which helps the narrative of the film not turn to anarchist propaganda. Having said that, it is Costello who also acknowledges that Lucio’s anarchism may become necessary when law and order fail to manage certain elements in society. Thus, Lucio and Costello can be seen as the personifications of anarchy and lawfulness respectively.

Inspector Costello isn’t a character that’s completely detached from the reality that inspired the film’s narrative. The brilliancy of the character can be seen as a homage to the several police officers who succeeded in arresting Lucio despite the latter’s connections throughout Europe.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s A Man of Action Filmed?