Submitted by Julio M

Oscar Winner – Best Foreign Language Film 2010

Short pooper:
Ricardo (Pablo Rago) got his revenge against Gomez (Javier Godino), the murderer/rapist of his wife Liliana (Carla Quevedo), by kidnapping him, holding him captive in a secret cell for the past 25 years, and never speaking to him while keeping him alive and fed. Esposito (Ricardo Darin) discovers this, by chance, after one last reacquaintance with Ricardo, and finally puts this haunting case aside, while also visiting, and confessing his feelings to, Irene (Soledad Villamil).

Longer version:
After the indictment of Gomez, Romano (Mariano Argento), Esposito’s eternal rival and a devout of the growing right-wing Peronist force in the country, pulls the strings to have Gomez released from jail and set up as as an extrajudicial henchman, to spite both Irene and Esposito; when they try to question this corrupt move, Romano taunts them both and warns them to “back off”, inferring any digging into the matter could cost them their lives. Despondent, Esposito has no other choice but to inform Ricardo and tell him that, unfortunately, because of his newfound power, Gomez will never be punished as he deserved.

A few weeks later, Esposito’s friend and work partner, Sandoval (Guillermo Francella), picks a drunken fight in a bar following an anti-government tirade, which draws unwanted attention to him; wanting to protect him, Esposito takes him to his own apartment and leaves to try and arrange a security detail for him, only to return and find the apartment open and ransacked and Sandoval shot dead, which devastates him. Esposito then infers that both Romano and Gomez most likely tried to have him killed and Sandoval sacrificed himself to protect Esposito. At this point, fearing for his own life, Esposito makes the difficult decision of leaving everything behind and going into hiding in the remote Province of Jujuy, for the following 10 years. When he finally returns -by this point, the tumultuous historical period of the “Dirty War” had passed and Argentina was, once again, a Democratic country-, Esposito discovers Romano was killed during the Dictatorship, Gomez vanished without a trace and Irene was married and with kids.

When the story finally places itself again in 1999 -where it started-, Esposito, having never been able to come to terms with the events that transpired all those years ago, and as part of the research for the novel he intended to write, pays a visit to Ricardo, who has since been living in a secluded country house outside of Buenos Aires. They touch base on everything that happened before and after the case of Liliana’s murder; however, Ricardo lashes out against Esposito upon being asked how he did to cope with the unjust resolution of Gomez being released the way he was after his sentencing, and also firmly states he put all that to rest by “abducting Gomez and shooting him dead in the trunk of his own car, many years ago”, while making it clearly look he did not want to bring up the subject ever again. Esposito finishes the visit and leaves.

As he prepares to drive off, he remembers something Sandoval recurrently said back then, about “how people may change many things in their lives, BUT THEY CAN NEVER CHANGE THEIR PASSION” -this, parly stemming from the fact that Esposito said Gomez deserved life in prison for his crime and Ricardo fervently hoped for it to happen-; he figures out there could be no way that Ricardo would just solve it so easily by killing Gomez, instead of somehow letting him live and punishing him by his own hand. Esposito patiently waits until nightfall, without having left the grounds, and sneaks back to follow Ricardo, who is carrying a small tray with food into a barn. Upon entering the barn, he is shocked to find Gomez in there, alive, but aged, worn-out and visibly suffering from the total isolation Ricardo imposed on him -he’d give Gomez food and water, but would never speak to, or look at, him-. When Gomez sees Esposito, begs him with a weak voice: “Please!! Can you ask him to, at least, say one word to me?!”.

Esposito and Ricardo look at each other, with the latter sternly reminding the former: “You said life in prison!!”. Understanding that things were better off that way, Esposito leaves the place to never return. Back in Buenos Aires, he visits Sandoval’s burial site for the first time and, then, visits a now-divorced Irene, with the intention of confessing his years-long love for her. Irene, who had been, in fact, waiting for him to take the initiative to do so all along, just smiles and asks him to close the door, as the movie ends.

02 hours 09 minutes