Review: The Delinquents (NYFF 61)

Title: The Delinquents (Los Delincuentes)
Director: Rodrigo Moreno
Starring: Daniel Elías, Esteban Bigliardi, Margarita Molfino, Germán De Silva
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Runtime: 3 hr 9 mins

What It Is: Bank employee Morán schemes to steal enough money to never work again, then confess and serve prison time while his colleague Román hides the cash. Soon under investigative pressure, Román meets a woman who transforms him forever.

What We Think: I am thrilled that films like this, made with an incredible amount of endurance, continue to be of interest to audiences and filmmakers alike. Shot over the course of an astonishing four years, Rodrigo Moreno uses an impressive tactic (one I have always admired) to keep our eyes transfixed on this story by letting moments linger, taking events in through prolongated beats, if you will, so that one can breathe the scene almost as well as the characters themselves. What a great way to submerge the audience into the drama, and depending on how you accomplish this it can be completely boring or enriching – that is not the case for The Delinquents. 

The setup for the eventual heist odyssey takes plenty of time, introducing the silent yet determined Morán (Daniel Elías) and his desire to escape the concrete walls that confine him, in favor of spending just a little more time inside some less favorable concrete walls with a few cellmates. But in his mind – what’s the difference? His friend Román (Esteban Bigliardi) is hesitant to accept this outlook, though as the story progresses we discover alongside him what freedom Morán was really after. Performances are wonderful across the board as the clock ticks, wearing down on our characters in different ways and bringing out varying emotions – once Norma (Margarita Molfino) enters the picture, a colorful blush remains for the rest of the runtime marked by her presence.

What starts as a very simple heist premise unravels into a meaningful journey for these characters, shot beautifully with gorgeous coloring and ambience. Do not let the runtime of this film dissuade you. If so many viewers can stand binge-watching shows for hours on end, this film’s slow pace combined with its comedic elements that blur into the life-questioning philosophies is an easy pill to swallow, and highly entertaining at times.

What We Think: A; Taking the heist genre and giving it an existential undertone is what The Delinquents does best, accompanied by a steady direction and performances that are full of life – in search of the best life one could live, and at what cost.