CLFF Review: Thesis on a Homicide

 | 2013 | 106 min.
Director: Hernán Goldfrid
 with English subtitles

Hernan Goldfrid (Director) is scheduled to attend the screening

Saturday, April 12, 2014, 9:00 pm at AMC River East 21

Sunday, April 13, 2014, 6:00 pm at AMC River East 21

Former lawyer turned law professor turned investigator finds himself in a bind when he starts looking into a murder that took place in his university. As awkwardly phrased as that last sentence serving as a synopsis of the film is, it’s exactly as awkwardly acted in the film. Note, the general point was made, but an emotional connection was simply not established.  Thus is the case of ‘Thesis on a Homicide.’

Roberto Bermudez is a retired lawyer turned law professor, and as most over the hill law professors do, he is teaching a course to a vanilla sea of students when a well put together shifty-eyed Spaniard who speaks in what appears to be exclusively philosophical tropes takes his class. Roberto is bothered by this young man: he is well put together, handsome, and seemingly dynamic. In my opinion, the young man is a metaphor for himself, and his dislike of him is really introspection.  The film goes out of its way to portray Roberto as troubled, almost like a generic lead character in an ’80s “buddy-cop” film, there is even an aggressive punching bag scene…just saying.

A murder happens on campus, and the law professor takes it upon himself to start accusing people. As legal professionals tend to do, he concludes that the murderer was obviously Gonzalo, the aforementioned Spaniard. Roberto builds his case that Gonzalo is indeed the killer, much to the behest of his peers. Roberto builds his case against the young Spaniard on a reference made about butterflies (the murdered young lady happened to be wearing a butterfly necklace) among some other circumstantial evidence. But did he really do it?

‘Thesis on a Homicide’ is a classic trope-filled American psychological thriller made for an Argentine audience. In my opinion, this film should be treated as a “popcorn” movie: taken in for visual pleasure, not mental stimulus.  It wasn’t unwatchable.

3 stars

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