El bonaerense (2002)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,393 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 10 user | 23 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

A young locksmith is forced to leave his home and family to join the Buenos Aires police force.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jorge Román ...
Mimí Ardú ...
Darío Levy ...
Hugo Anganuzzi ...
Víctor Hugo Carrizo ...
Graciana Chironi ...
Madre Zapa
Roberto Posse ...
Luis Viscat ...
Aníbal Barengo ...
Gerardo Maffoni ...
Liliana De Maria ...
Gastón Polo ...
Facundo Gomez ...
Carlos Federico Simon ...
Hijo de Mabel
Marcela Uzuka ...
Instructor Policial


Zapa is a locksmith in a quiet and little town lost somewhere in the province of Buenos Aires. The work is quite slow, and hours seem to pass slowly. Polaco, the owner of the shop, sends him on a job that consists of opening a safe at an office. The next day, Zapa is imprisoned for being responsible of robbing the place. Ismael, his uncle, a retired policeman, bails him out and sends him to Buenos Aires. Zapa becomes an aspiring officer in the Buenos Aires Police. He gets to his new home city, takes the instructional course, works at a precinct, has a love affair with a teacher and starts to see his life turn into a strange fiction. Written by Edgardo Rossetto

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

locksmith | policeman | robbery | See All (3) »


Crime | Drama


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Release Date:

19 September 2002 (Argentina)  »

Also Known As:

Rekrut  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Referenced in Levels (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Showing the indoctrination of a young man into a corrupt Buenos Aires police force
4 April 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"El Bonaerense" means something like "those of Buenos Aires". The movie is specifically about the police of Buenos Aires.

The story engages us by focusing on a 32-year old ordinary country or provincial man, a kind of peasant who is a locksmith, who has to go to Buenos Aires because he was, apparently unknowingly, roped into a crime. A relative helps him gain entry into the police organization. This is done by "who you know" and unofficially. He is given a "position", but at first it is strictly menial, like cleaning up. We then follow him as he obeys orders, makes himself useful, and rises in the force. This plot allows us to see all sorts of aspects of the police in operation.

What we observe is a non-professional force that is also corrupt. The police are not shown as doing anything good. On the contrary, they take long lunches, they use brutality when they feel like it, they hassle innocent people, they take petty bribes, they laze around the station, they are slow to respond to crimes, etc. Some incidents depict even worse behavior.

The protagonist responds to the culture by becoming part of it. To get ahead, if he wants this job, he has to, but he also has enough guile to keep his mouth shut, make himself useful, gain favor and obey. He eventually is promoted.

The film does not hit us over the head with an exposition of all of this. Some scenes are quite elliptical and we infer what is going on. We see events as they might really happen, without full explanation. It is a kind of cinema verite, but not quite. It is drama somewhat influenced by cinema verite or documentary flavor.

It's quite interesting. One suspects that this depiction holds true for police forces in many places in the world, and that the factors making for the corruption are at work even in countries that are known or thought to be more professional and on the up and up. The basic factors are that a police force has no competition and the controls over it are not strong. This fosters misbehavior. This kind of thing extends into the justice system too, the judges and prosecutors.

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