Review by James Lindorf
After more than 20 years of working nights in the ICU ward of a provincial Argentinian hospital, Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi) has cared for patients in severe stages of illness. Marcos is hardworking, he hasn’t taken a vacation day in years, and he is highly compassionate. He will fight for the lives of his patients even after the doctors have given up. However, when their condition shows no hope of improving, Marcos helps them reach their last moment quickly. Marcos is content to continue with his meager living that consists of a rundown studio apartment and cans of peas for possibly every meal while focusing on his patient. His well-worn routine is shattered when Gabriel joins the night staff. Gabriel is young, attractive, and charming, allowing him to seduce everyone except Marcos. When the ward’s death rate dramatically spikes, Marcos realizes that Gabriel is also killing patients. Unlike Marcos’ angel of death routine, Gabriel is killing indiscriminately and carelessly. The two nurses and two ideologies come to a head on June 11th when Samuel Goldwyn Films brings writer and director Martín Kraut’s “La Dosis” to VOD platforms.
“La Dosis” is Kraut’s first feature film, his second film overall, and you can feel the inexperience at times. Not that he does anything particularly poorly, it is more the sense of someone trying to find themselves. There are many interesting artistic shots, but they are primarily one-offs and not a recurring theme or definitive sense of style. On top of the exciting images, whether they were done with minimal lighting or entirely in the reflection of a window, a lot of credit should go to veteran cinematographer Gustavo Biazzi (Castro). The two also made interesting choices in the film’s color palette. Lots of cool colors, greys, blues, greens added to the ominous nature of the story.
The story itself is suspenseful at times and offers great social commentary about the controversial subject of assisted suicide. I guess more accurately, in “La Dosis,” they are all murders no matter how nicely they are carried out since none of the patients asked for it. This is a topic that can lead to endless discussion about the sanctity of life, empath, and humanity. Kraut doesn’t stray into those topics directly, and the debate is left up to the audience. While there are moments of tension throughout the movie, the most significant fault in “La Dosis” is that there is no payoff at the end of a story populated with ineffectual characters. Portaluppi is the standout of a mostly serviceable cast which is great since he carries all of the weight. Throughout the movie, people are put in situations where they should take some sort of action, and the most common response is essentially a shrug of the shoulders.
“La Dosis” has a lot going for it and shows tremendous promise for Kraut’s future, but it is the climax or lack thereof that spells doom for his debut. As much as I enjoy the message and the cinematography, I can’t see giving “La Dosis” more than a 2 out of 5 due to a lack of satisfaction. Will just a few pick-up shots or having someone punch up the script could have doubled its score.
Genre: Drama, Mystery & Thriller
Original Language: Spanish
Director: Martín Kraut
Producer: Martín Kraut, Pablo Chernov
Writer: Martín Kraut
Release Date: June 11th, 2021
Runtime: 1h 33m
Production Co: Alina Film