Run time: 140 mins
There’s a fair bit of Hollywoodised emotion in this courtroom drama, but it is managed with terrific flair and heartfelt commitment, and Ricardo Darin gives a wonderful performance in the lead.
The film centres on the Trial of the Juntas, a milestone Argentine case in which a civilian court tried former military leaders for brutal crimes committed while the country was under a right-wing dictatorship.
Julio Strassera (Darin) is our protagonist and chief prosecutor, who assumed the role during the early days of Argentina’s precarious reinstalled democracy. Strassera’s fidelity to his work strains against an enduring mistrust of others. He softens in domestic scenes, where the genial presence of his wife and two children uncovers the dangerous stakes of the case as the family receives death threats.
Nine top military brass were put in the dock for human rights abuses, and this film shows their haughty refusal to recognise the authority of a civilian court — including Leopoldo Galtieri, who had been in charge of the shameful and catastrophic invasion of the Falklands just four years before. Argentina 1985 is a forthright, muscular and potent film.