Rojo ★★★½

The dirty war in Argentina that took place from 1974 to 1983 was one of the deadliest of the many inhumane US-backed right-wing crusades that have transpired in Latin America. In the interest of protecting occidental and christian values, many working class people suffered at the hands of a cowardly government that turned their back against them in favor of dollar bills.
Rojo, Benjamín Naishtat's third feature and his most accessible yet, opens with a long shot of a house being looted. We are transported to a fancy restaurant, as Claudio —a wonderfully stoic Darío Grandinetti— is waiting for his wife to arrive. The gaze of a mysterious man has grown fixated on him, which he's not oblivious to. He confronts the stranger, querying on his intentions. He feels entitled to the table as, in his own words, he's ready to eat while Claudio still hasn't ordered. In an attempt to stop the issue from escalating, he gives up his seat. Not one to waste the opportunity to lecture, Claudio goes on a tirade against the man, provoking a catastrophic succession of events.
It is remarkable then that, as the timeline jumps three months forward, this appears to have no lasting effect on our main character. He's just as egotistical and frivolous as when we were first met him, fear of consequences absent from his mind. He becomes involved in a questionable deal as his friend, interested in buying the property showcased at the beginning, hires him to ensure the purchase. With the help of a desperate client, the sale is completed. Though the ordeal develops through the second act, there's never any doubt that they'll succeed at the end.
Some compelling subplots emerge, one featuring the daughter as she trains for a dance recital where she's the lead and dates a privileged but insecure guy. A meeting with american cowboys is a constant fixture, serving as the overt metaphor for imperialism throughout the film, exchanging goods for trash dressed as treasures. The most engrossing one though, happens with the introduction of Detective Sinclair, —embodied by scene-stealer Alfredo Castro— set on finding the truth about the disapparition of his client's brother. Albeit riveting, these end up being abandoned or hastily concluded, barely affecting the narrative, if at all. However, this is not sloppiness but a deliberate decision by Naishtat. His concerns are the rising acceptance of fascism and how easily it engrains itself to society like a silent disease. Not only that, but he exposes the way in which we accept everyday injustices and how quickly we are desensitized to violence, one could argue, as a coping mechanism. Nevertheless, he calls out the hypocrisy in such actions, taking no prisoners with him. In his eyes, staying quiet in the face of oppression is no better than oppression itself. A coup is approaching, can a person continue on living knowing they didn't do anything to stop it?