‘The Crimes That Bind‘ is a Spanish language film from Argentina, originally titled ‘Crímenes de familia.’ Sebastián Schindel directed it and co-wrote it with Pablo Del Teso. It was released internationally on Netflix.
Alicia (Cecilia Roth) is desperate to protect her son Daniel (Benjamín Amadeo) from going to jail after he is accused of assaulting his ex-wife Marcela (Sofía Gala Castiglione). As the trial progresses, Alicia grows in her desperation, even as her husband Ignacio (Miguel Ángel Solá) wants them to face reality and the possibility that their son is guilty. Meanwhile, their maid and single-mother Gladys (Yanina Ávila) is also standing trial for murdering a relative. Alicia also attends that trial, feeling sorry for the maid and wanting to make sure Gladys’ three-year-old son is taken care of, but soon discovers a dark secret that could unravel her whole life.
I would like to say, Cecilia Roth does an excellent job as Alicia. Her performance as a mother desperate to save her son and becoming a surrogate mother to her maid’s son, who lovingly calls her Auntie, is excellent. She delivers an excellent performance and holds the movie together.
The movie moves along at a little bit of a slow pace. It is meant to serve as a thriller, but it honestly felt more like a slow-moving melodrama than a thriller. The trial scenes were well acted, but at times, I felt like there was some fluff that could have been cut. Granted, I am no expert in the judicial system in Argentina, so that could have been lost in translation.
That being said, I did find the story compelling, especially as we see Alicia’s friends and family abandon her as she pursues clemency for her son and appears at her maid’s trial. It had my attention from beginning to end and definitely brought an interesting story.
My only major problem with the film is it seemed to excuse Gladys’ crime. Now, there are some minor spoilers here, so feel free to skip this paragraph. Gladys, apparently, she did not realize she was pregnant and murdered her newborn because she was afraid that Alicia would kick her out if she had another child. To me, this was a moral quandary that the filmmakers stepped in, implying that two wrongs definitely made a right. I thought they did not do a good enough job of pushing this agenda.
Bottom line, The Crimes That Bind is definitely an interesting film and it is far better than a lot of European movies I have seen. Roth is excellent and the story is interesting, but it gets bogged down in the moral questions it tries to answer by offering no real solutions.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Thematic elements, Foul language
FAVORITE QUOTE: I helped her with everything.
Check out the trailer below:
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