Dolores Dreier, lives the life of a young student until her best friend is brutally murdered. Two years later, she is the only one accused of the crime in a case of great media exposure ...
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Dolores Dreier, lives the life of a young student until her best friend is brutally murdered. Two years later, she is the only one accused of the crime in a case of great media exposure that has put her in the center of the scene: everyone has an opinion about her innocence or guilt. Dolores prepares for the isolated trial at home, while the Dreier family works as a team willing to do everything to defend their daughter. But as the process progresses and the pressure increases, secrets and suspicion appear within the family. Cornered by the evidence, Dolores will have to face her own doubts about what really happened.
What the writing lacks, the performances compensate! [+49%]
'Acusada' is going to be remembered more for its restrained performances from Lali Esposito and Leonardo Sbaraglia than for its ragbag of a screenplay. Ever since Dolores Dreier (Esposito) was accused of murdering her best-friend, life has steadily been heading downhill for her. The film is partly a courtroom drama that focuses on proving/refuting her innocence, and partly an exploration of Dolores' personal demons.
It has been two years since the incident that left everyone in the Dreier household (comprising Dolores, her father Luis, her mom Betina, and her brother Martin) in a state of coldness, and Dolores has slowly gotten accustomed (though not completely) to her 'restricted' lifestyle. The film details the emotional turmoil faced by Dolores and her family before and during the trial process. Esposito, in a performance that requires her to retain a certain sense of mystery, is splendid. She is sensibly restrained, sometimes giving viewers the benefit of the doubt that she may be innocent as she claims, but at times, manipulative too because she doesn't have clear-cut answers to some straightforward questions.
A performance that's equally worth the mention is that of Leonardo Sbaraglia's (looking a bit like a gracefully aged Eric Bana), who, especially in the film's final quarter, is stupendous. Writers Ulises Porra and Gonzalo Tobal (who's also the director) don't exactly recreate the crime scene on-screen at any point, instead leaves that to the viewers to decipher through courtroom statements and the conversational exchanges between Dolores and her lawyer Ignacio (Daniel Fanego). However, for a crime thriller to have a successful follow-through post an above average build-up, it needs to provide convincing answers as to "who, why, and how". 'Acusada' wavers in focus when it comes to these essential genre elements and it seems content simply cracking the truth behind Dolores' conviction.
This, in turn, makes the film a just-about-okay watch at the end of it all when it could have been much more. There are also scenes that do not cohere, especially the one at Dolores' childhood farm that only pose more questions than answers. I, for one, am a fan of ambiguity (to a certain extent) in crime thrillers, but this one just leaves the door open for innumerable possibilities by the time the end credits start rolling.
An interesting theory is brought to question by Luis right before the day of the verdict but why this wasn't explored further was beyond me. With performances that clearly towered over the script, it wouldn't have hurt to stretch the film by an extra 20 or 30 minutes, if there were a twist or two in store. Unfortunately, 'Acusada' doesn't go that route and ends up being a straightforward courtroom drama!
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