Director: Juan José Campanella; Main Cast: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Guillermo Francella, Javier Godino;
I was really looking forward to watch this film and my expectations weren’t disappointed! It’s an engaging, multi-layered story that intertwines events in the mid-seventies and in 1999, all connected to a homicide investigation. Benjamin (Darin) is a retired Argentinian federal justice agent in 1999, he’s writing a novel based on an old case with the hope of understanding it better and finding some closure. In 1974, Benjamín, his assistant Pablo Sandoval (Francella), and newly hired department chief Irene Menéndez Hastings (Villamil) were personally affected by the brutal rape and murder of Liliana Coloto, in particular after witnessing the extreme grief of her husband, Ricardo Morales (Rago). They doggedly pursue the investigation, notwithstanding the incompetence and the willful near-sightedness of the justice system, finally zeroing on Isidoro Gomez (Godino) as the real killer. I won’t add more details about the plot to avoid spoilers for those who have not seen this film but rest assured there are some interesting twists.
Campanella expertly juggles the past and present storylines, making the viewer slowly discover different sides of Benjamin while he builds up the case, in the past, or he revisits it, in the present. Through his eyes, we get to know the other key players and see different explanations of events he didn’t witness directly, which are especially intriguing since one of the main themes of the film is about remembering the past and being stuck in it. Although Benjamin is aware that historical accuracy is not paramount for the novel, the process of revisiting the case is a necessary step to be able to move on also with his personal life.
The director works flawlessly all the technical aspects of the film and keeps the viewer engaged from start to finish. There are some beautiful shots of interiors and of Buenos Aires that complement well the brilliant performances of the cast. Darin is the soul of the story while Villamil is the heart.
As a final note I must say that now that I’ve seen this film I appreciate even more the ambiguity of the title: “sus” means not only “their” but also “his” or “her”. Riveting —9/10
This post is part of the Blind Spot Series 2016, a blogathon organised by Ryan at The Matinee