(director/writer: Sebastian Borenztein; screenwriters: Marcos Osorio Vidal, based on the novel Descansar en Paz by Martin Baintrub; cinematographer: Rodrigo Pulpeiro; editor: Alejandro Carrillo Penovi; music: Federico Jusid; cast: Joaquin Furriel (Sergio Dayan), Griselda Siciliani (Estela Dayan), Gabriel Goity (Hugo Brenner), Lali Gonzalez (Ilu), Luciano Borges (Raul), Raul Daumas (Gordo); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: TV-Ma; producers: Chino Darin, Ricardo Darin, Federico Posternak; Netflix; 2024-Argentina-in Spanish with English subtitles)

“Its anti-climactic and incoherent conclusion failed to enthrall me, as things seemed real until they didn’t.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Argentina filmmaker Sebastian Borenztein (“Heroic Losers”/”Chinese take-away”) directs this  slow-paced mystery melodrama that is suspenseful in its first half but in its second half lacks an emotional punch. It’s adapted from the novel Descansar en Paz by Martin Baintrub and is co-written by Borenztein and Marcos Osorio Vidal. 

In Buenos Aires, in 1994, Sergio Dayan (Joaquin Furriel) is a harried businessman whose factory he inherited from his parents is going under, and he has no funds to pay his bills or his workers. His back is to the wall when pressured by a dangerous loan shark Hugo Brenner (Gabriel Goity) to pay him back immediately.

Sergio keeps the bad news from his dental hygienist wife Estella (Griselda Siciliani) and young daughter and her younger brother.

One day, while buying a necklace in a jewelry store for his beloved daughter, he goes outside as nearby a bomb explodes on the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in a hate crime. Sergio receives a shrapnel wound and is taken to the hospital, but is only slightly injured and walks away without giving his name. He then decides to fake his death, and moves to Paraguay, where he takes a false identity and gets a job at an import and trading firm. He left his family, but left them his life insurance policy that gets them out of debt and adequately provides for their everyday needs in his absence.

After many years away from his family, the now bearded runaway dad secretly checks on his family and discovers his wife married the loan shark and his children (daughter and younger brother) call Hugo dad.

Its anti-climactic and incoherent conclusion failed to enthrall me, as things seemed real until they didn’t.

REVIEWED ON 4/10/2024  GRADE: C+