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Lion's Den Review

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A woman in prison (Gusman) struggles to raise her child.

★★★★★

Although he refuses to confirm whether pregnant twentysomething Martina Gusman is guilty of murdering the lover she shared with boyfriend Rodrigo Santoro or to condemn the pragmatism of her prison romance with cell-mate Laura García, Pablo Trapero indulges in too many generic tropes for this downbeat, detached melodrama to convince as a work of social realism.

Nevertheless, Guillermo Nieto’s claustrophobic imagery reinforces how women are still compartmentalised in Argentinian society, while Gusman wisely eschews easy sympathy — it’s her guarded response to past and present traumas that authenticates her resolve to do whatever it takes to survive her ordeal.

Too many generic tropes for this downbeat, detached melodrama to convince as a work of social realism but a strong central performance and convincing depiction of the compartmentalisation of Argentina's women.

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