Julio returns with his family to Argentina after the downfall of the brutal dictatorship that overpowered long-standing democracy. Things soon take an ugly turn as his brother is kidnapped and Julio becomes the lead negotiator with the criminals.
Sometimes, you remain terrified even after a nightmare is ostensibly over. That’s certainly true for any nation that has suffered under a ruthless, immoral rule for years, a nation like Argentina. And that lingering terror is superbly illustrated in this unsettling and poignant film.
It all begins with high hopes. Julio, a loving husband and father of two, returns with his family to the country they left in the midst of the brutal dictatorship that overpowered long-standing democracy. He’s part of a wealthy, industrialist family and, once in Buenos Aires, he’s expected to take over managing the company alongside his brother, Miguel. But things soon take an ugly turn as Miguel is kidnapped for ransom and Julio becomes the de facto lead negotiator with the criminals.
What follows is the painful realization that the transitioning government has a long way to go to rid itself of groups and individuals who were part of the muscle of the ousted regime. The thugs used to doing the dirtiest jobs imaginable are more than capable of wrecking civilian lives for personal profit. Julio (a truly outstanding Rodrigo de la Serna) scrambles to understand who can be trusted and, in the midst of all this mayhem, gets in big trouble for mismanagement of the company.
Hope may dwindle, yet the poised and heartfelt touch of director Daniela Goggi ensures the resonance of the suffering of families stricken in this way will not go unnoticed.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: coarse language; mature themes; violence