Rojo (15)***

Dir: Benjamin Naishtat

With: Dario Grandinetti, Diego Cremonesi, Alfredo Castro

Runtime: 109 minutes

SET in a nameless Argentine province in 1975, Benjamin Naishtat’s political drama begins in a restaurant. A man is waiting for his wife. Another customer enters and bullies him out of his table. Might has triumphed over right, but embarrassed lawyer Claudio (Dario Grandinetti, left) is not done yet and proceeds to tell the yob, who seems like one of the new breed of “reds” holding sway over the country, exactly what he thinks of him. What begins as a ridiculous spat soon escalates into something more.

Naishtat’s film is set against a backdrop of an Argentina in turmoil. There are hints of dark deeds, of disappearances, and a middle class which is willing to advance or protect its interests at any cost.

A slow burn piece but peppered with moments of rich humour and real tension, and what a treat to see Alfredo Castro (of Tony Manero fame) turn up as a private detective. ALISON ROWAT