El Bonaerense Review

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Locksmith Zapa is a locksmith in a quiet town, who is sent on a routine job to open a safe. However, the next day he is imprisoned on charges of robbery. His uncle, a retired policeman, gets him out of jail and sends him to join the police in Buenos Aires.


Reinforcing the maxim that a policeman's lot is not a happy one, Pablo Trapero's second feature contains several echoes of his first, Crane World, as a victim of circumstance finds himself having to abandon his trade and start again in a Buenos Aires backwater.

However, locksmith Zapa's (Román) fall from grace is largely his own fault, and he's only spared jail because his uncle arranges for him to become a trainee cop. Nepotism is the least of the misdemeanours Trapero identifies, as he exposes the indolence, indifference and incompetence of the ill-equipped, uninspired police force dealing with the capital's rising crime. He's more concerned with the corrupting influence of urban life on the country rube, which manifests itself in his abusive relationship with lecturer Mabel (Arduh).

A cynical but credible exercise in restrained realism.