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I stopped feeling dubious about the quality of the Argentinian cinema a
long time ago.
Throughout practically its whole history and starting at the commencement of the XX century, getting to produce 200 films a year during the 50s, most of them distributed throughout Southamerica with highly popular impact (why that stopped is another story), the immense majority of this production was, to put it mildly, very poor and in general low brow with a handful of exceptions here and there, not enough to justify an international prestige.
This is the case no longer, for the last two or three decades, the Argentinian film industry has been producing excellent work, like the film we are considering now ("Sin retorno" -2010).
The script is very well constructed and the pacing of the story is frankly Argentinian, because although it's a thriller, it has nothing to do with an European or better yet, with a Hollywood product.
The story becomes quite suspenseful once its drama is unleashed to show us the moral and in one of the instances the physical danger of all the characters involved. The unimaginable consequences of a lie swelling up like a wild, unstoppable snowball coming down the mountain side at full speed, being impossible to imagine what tree will stop its run (the end is absolutely unexpected).
Very interesting because it makes you think if it's worthy to tell a lie when it'll get so entangled that your life will never be the same, no matter how many more years you'll get to live.
Excellent acting that grabs you from the beginning without letting go till the very end. Technically impeccable. Very-very entertaining.
Slow-paced, quasi thriller which examines the effects upon three
families when a member of one runs down and kills a member of another
family while a member of a third family - because of bad timing - is
accused and arrested to face trial.
The perpetrator, Matias (Martin Slipak) concocts a stolen car story for his parents who, at first, believe him; later however, Matias breaks down, tells the truth to his parents who then compound the felony by going along with the lies. The father of Matias even retrieves the abandoned car, drives it to a secluded spot and torches it completely. The family hunkers down, keeps a low profile - but emotions are raw.
Meanwhile, the father, Victor (Frederico Luppi), of the victim, Pablo (Augustin Vazquez) sets out to find the hit-run driver. The police, with nothing to go on (they think), are not much interested: there are many hit-run crimes, many unresolved. Victor begins a door-knock campaign in the area of the killing and eventually finds a witness who recalls a fast car which nearly creamed him in a pedestrian crossing, for Pete's sake, on that night! Victor makes enough noise in the media for the cops to start looking for that car.
And so, eventually they find the car driven by Federico (Leonardo Sbaraglia) who'd left his car with a dentologist (aka auto body repair shop) to fix the banged-up front of his car which occurred when, hurrying to get home, he hit Pablo's bicycle. Pablo was angry, of course. After a colorful exchange of heated words, Federico drove off - leaving poor Pablo to take the hit, less than a minute later, when Matias didn't see him in the darkness.
Blissfully unaware, Federico had gone on holiday with his family; on return, however, he was immediately arrested for the hit-run, charged and tried. Federico's final fate is entirely believable, even inevitable. Old Victor thinks he achieved justice for Pablo, his dead son. Matias lives on, riven with guilt, unwilling to face up. The denouement, however, when the three men meet in the final, tense, ten minutes, is entirely unexpected - but, entirely believable also.
You don't get quality story and cinema like this much, any more. Acting, direction and editing are simply excellent; and there's not a wasted frame, in my opinion. Story construction and plot are cleverly interwoven to keep viewers' interest. Some critics, however, might suggest the over-use of coincidence for plot development; ignore that. Just enjoy an excellent, contemporary drama that could happen in any town, any day, anywhere.
Give this eight out of ten. Recommended for all.
September 7, 2014
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