While it's fascinating to see Viggo Mortensen starring in an Argentine thriller, the film itself is disappointing and dull, keeping all the compelling emotions so internalised that we find it difficult to care what happens. It's skilfully shot and edited, and Mortensen's dual performance is excellent, but the central relationships are so vague that the film never draws us in.
Mortensen plays Agustin, a successful Buenos Aires doctor whose marriage to Claudia (Villamil) is strained by her persistent desire to adopt an orphan. Just as he's about to snap at her, his twin brother Pedro (also Mortensen) arrives to tell him that he's in the final stages of cancer. When he dies, Agustin sees a route of escape: he assumes Pedro's identity and returns to their family home deep in an isolated wooded river system. There he discovers that Pedro had been involved in a reckless kidnapping with childhood friend Adrian (Ganego). And as Agustin tries to clean up Pedro's mess, he begins to fall for bee-keeping assistant Rosa (Gala).
Mortensen is essentially playing three characters here: the sharp but frazzled city doctor, the wheezy country bumpkin and a combination of the two as Agustin pretends to be Pedro, although only Adrian seems to fall for this ruse. What's intriguing is the way Mortensen so thoroughly internalises his performance, revealing his thoughts and feelings through his eyes. This holds our interest more than anything else in the film, and gives his interaction with the other characters a jolt of raw honesty. Otherwise, we never really believe the romance between Agustin and Rosa, and Adrian is evil for evil's sake, which makes him a cartoon villain.
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Recently retired lawyer Benjamin (Darin) wants to write a novel, but is unable to shake the memory of a brutal 25-year-old murder case that challenged his sense of justice. But time got away from him, and it's only now that he's again haunted by the horribly twisted series of events. This is entangled with his relationships with two colleagues (Villamil and Francella) and the victim's equally troubled husband (Rago), plus and an ongoing vendetta that subverts justice in the name of politics.
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Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.
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