Back in 2012, there was a big news story about a couple of Uruguayan nurses who euthanized a lot of hospital patients. Inspired by that story Argentinian director Martin Kraut in his feature debut has fashioned an entertaining psychological thriller that centers on the rivalry between a senior and a junior nurse in a small hospital’s ICU, both playing God with the people they’re supposed to be taking care of. They couldn’t be more different in their personalities and motives though. And once they’ve each discovered the other’s proclivity, their game of wits threatens to kill one of them.

Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi) has been on the job more than 20 years and helps some of his critical patients along to ease their suffering. But then Gabriel (Ignacio Rogers) shows up. He’s young and handsome and everyone likes him. And Marcos is both jealous and wary of the youngster. He’s also concerned that Gabriel’s presence will make it harder for him to continue his mercy killings. And soon Gabriel has found him out and is manipulating his life. But then Marcos discovers that Gabriel is also killing patients, just not the ones who are going to die. And Marcos’s dilemma becomes how does he stop Gabriel without revealing his own killings.

Marcos has a very dreary life. The film cuts back and forth to his life outside the hospital. He’s been dumped, has to move out of his apartment, seems to have money troubles, rides the very inconsistent bus to and from work. Gabriel on the other hand seems to have no troubles. Everyone at the hospital takes to him immediately, including coworker Noelia (Lorena Vega) who slowly turns on Marcos, as do others who have known him for decades. But Gabriel insinuates himself into Marcos’s life, too, picking him up from the bus stop to give him a ride home, getting him a birthday present, covering shifts for him. It keeps Marcos totally off kilter. That is until he realizes that Gabriel is also killing and doing it for fun.

And then the hospital administration calls Marcos in to talk about the rising death count in their unit and Marcos starts to lose it. He hallucinates. He makes mistakes that damage his reputation. And all the while there’s smiling and popular psychopath Gabriel. And as it plays out, you’re entirely unsure how it will end right up until it does.

It’s a very well doneĀ  but low-key thriller with a great ethical question at its heart: Is one of these men better than the other if they both kill people without their consent? The two leads play off one another perfectly as the tension between them ratchets up. It’s a small and claustrophobic film, and one that keeps you watching to see if Marcos will come out on top. And I recommend it to those who like an unusual psychological thriller and South American fare.

In Spanish with subtitles. Available on VOD, June 11th.




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