Crimes That Bind: Thriller With A Feminist Undertone

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crimes-that-bind
The Crimes That Bind, Source: Netflix

The Crimes That Bind is a series based on real-life events. Streaming on Netflix, the Argentinian drama is from the director Sebastian Schindel, who has made several phenomenal & complex thrillers like The Son. The director has a firm grip on the ambiguous elements of visual storytelling. He has undoubtedly delivered one of the best series even this time.

Watch the trailer here:

 

The Plot

Alicia enjoys her comfortable life of retirement in a large apartment in Buenos Aires. She has a live-in helper and practices in-home yoga lessons with a few of her close & wealthy friends. Ignacio (Miguel Angel Sola) is retired, but he tends to spend a lot of time at the office anyway. Their caretaker, Gladys (Yanina Avila), has a three-year-old son, and Alicia takes care of him. Gladys is psychologically challenged.

The boy is sweet & energetic despite being raised without a father. Alicia plays with him in an attempt to fill the void left by her inability to see her grandson. She takes a call from a prisoner, something she has done several times before. It’s her son, Daniel (Benjamin Amadeo), and his wife, who has charged him with sexual assault.

The crimes that bind
The Crimes That Bind
Image Source: Netflix

The script then jumps forward in time. We open with a woman who lies in a hospital bed, she calls for help, but her pleas keep on getting ignored. She looks down and seems bewildered when she notices that she has been cuffed to the bed rail. There’s Glady’s blood on her clothes. Following this, she meets with a public defender, who tells her that she’s being charged with first-degree murder.

Whenever someone interrogates her, several seconds pass before she replies. Unable to tell her story to the lawyer, she sits with a psychologist, and speaks of her childhood in a dark and oversimplified terms that clearly translate to severe abuse. Tears roll down her cheek as she narrates her life’s story.

Alicia and Ignacio appear in the courtroom for two unrelated trials, the timelines for which soon catch up. Daniel and his wife Marcela (Sofia Gala) present their long testimonies, and he’s either telling some gut-wrenching truth or is a total sociopath. Ignacio delivers his statement as to Gladys’ character during her murder trial.

Alicia and Ignacio vary on their approach towards Daniel. She has plans to use their money to buy every possible leverage they can, to get him off the hook. On the other hand, Ignacio seems obscurely suspicious about his innocence. In between, we get dim, nightmarish scenes that seem to be straight out of a horror movie- shots of long, dark hallways and a bathroom splattered with blood.

Why should you watch The Crimes That Bind?

The Crimes That Bind
The Crimes That Bind
Image Source: Netflix

The Crimes That Blind adheres tightly to Alicia and Gladys’ points-of-view. Although the characters were showcased using familiar arcs, Roth, and Avila’s devotion towards sustaining their inner conflicts adds intensity to the story.

The key to The Crimes That Bind is that we can impartially see where all of this is heading, but Alicia can’t. Clarity doesn’t come easy for someone who is biased and maybe in a state of denial. Denial is a repetitive theme in this brilliantly crafted series.

Perhaps that’s a humane way of assessing the foreseen drama, but its surface-level plotting isn’t as critical as the subtext’s feminist tones. Later in the film, Alicia learns something crucial, and the film focuses more on how our protagonist reacts to this big reveal.

A plot device makes her conclusion far too simple to execute, but one shouldn’t let these dodges get in the way of the more comprehensive discussion.

A Final Note:

Toxic masculinity plays a significant role in this story. While it’s mostly evident in most of the cases and quite murky in others, Schindel and co-screenwriter Pablo Del Teso quietly emphasize the need for Alicia to recognize her complicity and consider the destinies of her grandson and Gladys’ son.

None of this subject matter is particularly subtle or revelatory. Still, it’s compelling how Schindel manages the tight narrative of a heavy drama. Unlike other domestic dramas in this domain, the movie isn’t interested in manipulating us.

It narrates the story of a woman who resists the ludicrous assertion that people can be too old in their ways to change. A classic thriller retold as a feminist saga- The Crimes That Bind isn’t always well-written or original, but it’s absorbing in its execution of character drama and dark themes.