The Snatch Thief
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
In the opening moments of Agustin Toscano’s adroit drama, Miguel (Sergio Prina) and his partner-in-crime Pablo (Daniel Elias) are sitting on a motorcycle, watching, waiting, while an elderly woman picks up cash from the ATM. When she turns to walk away, they drive past and Pablo grabs her handbag. But Elena (Liliana Juárez) refuses to let go. They drag her down the street before leaving her in a heap on the concrete. Miguel is so distraught, he tracks her down in hospital and begins to care for her, never revealing the real reason for his sympathy. Yet how much Elena can piece together is up for grabs…
Set in northwestern Argentina in 2013, a period of economic strife when even the cops went on strike (with predictably chaotic results), The Snatch Thief mines suspense and pathos from its potent scenario but opts for spiky humanism over sentimental gloss. Neither Miguel nor Elena are particularly admirable human beings, but it’s fun watching the wary, tender dance between them as each opportunistically milks obfuscation and confusion to make the most of a difficult situation.