Friday, May 13, 2011

Movie of
the Month:
Part 28

I recently
ing DVD
Video Librarian, and thought the results were worth sharing.

(Pablo Trapero, Argentina, 2010, 107 mins.)

"Engaging nihilistic neo-noir from Argentine New Waver
about ambulance chasing lawyer trying to escape the per-
ils of his profession. Car accidents and bloody bruisings
galore. I can already see the Soderbergh remake."

--Anthony Kaufman, indieWIRE

According to Pablo Trapero's gritty thriller, Argentina has so
many traffic accidents that "the compensation market is boom-
ing" (an opening intertitle notes 22 per day, 8,000 per year).

Ricardo Darín (El Aura, The Secret in Their Eyes) plays Héctor
Sosa, a low-rent lawyer who meets Olivera Luján (Martina Gus-
man, Trapero's Lion's Den), a medic, at the site of one. They en-
joy an instant rapport, though she refers to him as a "vulture"
in conversation with her partner, because he trolls crash sites
for cases. Worse yet, he stages accidents with accomplices.

As Trapero follows his protagonists along on their rounds, it be-
comes clear that their lives revolve around work, that they're wil-
ling to do whatever it takes to keep going, and that they're more
than a little lonely. In best noir style, Sosa has reached the end
of his tether and is ready to move on. He knows Lujan looks
down on him, so he tries to earn her respect. He succeeds un-
til she glimpses the depths to which he'll sink, and backs off.

After one of his staged events goes wrong, Sosa leaves the sleazy
firm for which he's been toiling, considers his next move, and reig-
nites their thwarted relationship, but becoming an independent a-
gent after years of dirty doings turns out to be difficult at best.

If the pace is more relaxed, until the pulse-pounding conclusion,
Carancho's movie sometimes recalls Martin Scorsese's underrat-
ed Bringing out the Dead, which documented the unraveling of a
burnt-out EMT (Nicolas Cage) in New York's Hell's Kitchen. Both
pictures take place primarily at night when people are exhausted,
vulnerable--and liable to make critical mistakes. Recommended.

Click here for Movie of the Month, Part 27: The Girl

Endnote: Slightly revised from the original text. Im-
age from indieWIRE (via the Cannes Film Festival).

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