Friday 24 May 2024

The Delinquents [2023]

 Argentine filmmaker Rodrigo Moreno’s beguiling and enthralling anti-heist film The Delinquents seemed like a piquant blend of Godard’s radical and subversive flourishes, Rohmer’s freewheeling and enchanting levity, and Jarmusch’s seriocomic existentialist fables. This playful, languorous and intoxicating inversion of the classic crime caper – overturning genre conventions and sidestepping viewer expectations over its leisurely 3-hour runtime – also threw ironic jabs at corporate drudgery, work-life balance, midlife crisis, stifling urban monotony, the futility of meticulous planning and how the desire for escape doesn’t always exactly translate into one. Morán (Daniel Elías), who’s stuck in a dull and tedious clerical job in a bank in Buenos Aires, hatches a ludicrous plan in his defiant pursuit for freedom. He exploits a fortuitous scenario to steal $650,000 – just enough to compensate earnings until retirement for two persons – and slyly convinces his colleague Román (Esteban Bigliardi) to hold the loot, in lieu of 50% share for effectively doing nothing, while he serves what he expects to be a reduced prison sentence. Life, however, never follows a linear path, as Morán encounters the brutish prison boss Garrincha (Germán de Silva), while Román faces an equally torrid in office thanks to their vindictive boss (de Silva, in a dual role), a tough insurance investigator (Laura Paredes), crumbling domestic life and anxiety. To complicate things further, both are in love with the vivacious and carefree Norma (Margarita Molfino). The film’s many delightful attributes include Morán finding solace through Ricard Zelarayán’s hypnotic longform poem “The Great Salt Flats”; absorbing use of jazz, blues and tango scores; quirky conversations and digressions; elaborate fades and dissolves separating its gorgeously photographed sequences; and anagrammatic names, doppelgängers and such eccentric gestures from Moreno.

Director: Rodrigo Moreno

Genre: Crime Comedy/Existential Drama

Language: Spanish

Country: Argentina

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