Directed by: Santiago Mitre
Distributed by: Amazon Studios
Written by Alexander Reams
In the opening scene of Santiago Mitre’s legal epic “Argentina, 1985,” Julio César Strassera (Ricardo Darín) is making his way home in a torrential downpour while his son follows his sister back from a date. When they meet in the house it’s framed and maneuvered like a documentary, Mitre’s usage of fluid camerawork is a standard that he continues throughout the film, which gives a visual flair that helps keep the film engaging while dealing with very dense subjects. The main focus is the prosecution of the leaders of the last military dictatorship in Argentina, led by Julio César Strassera and Luis Moreno Ocampo (Peter Lanzani), and chronicles a period of 9 years leading to the trial, which would be known as the Trial of the Juntas.
Mitre plays most of this like a legal procedural and gives his performers space, which leads to the penultimate scene in the film in which Darín’s Strassera gives a monologue as his closing argument that feels like the perfect ending to a film that most would call “a very important movie.” Darín’s acting isn’t the only weapon in Mitre’s war chest of talent, he and his co-writer Mariano Llinás utilize humor to subvert expectations associated with this genre of film, Darín never plays Strassera as a hero that flies in and saves the day, instead a cog within a much larger, corrupted system, who still manages to give them hell. There are boxes that the film checks off that can feel exactly that, Strassera having issues at home while trouble brews at work, this plot line is very common and is very popular in biopics. While this bugged me, Mitre’s capturing of the trial itself is enthralling to watch, where he allows his camera free reign over the courtroom. Mitre’s vision is clear and his execution is fantastic, making for one of the tougher, but necessary watches in the legal drama genre.
“Argentina, 1985” Trailer