In Argentina in 2001 the economy was in disarray. After three years of recession and a terrible monetary policy, citizens were starting to withdraw their money, convert it to US dollars, and dump it into foreign accounts. In order to prevent a run on the banks, the government introduced the Coralito: a series of measures to prevent other than minimal withdrawals, and then only in pesos rather than dollars. Not surprisingly, further fiscal chaos ensued.
Set against this backdrop, Heroic Losers is based on the novel by Eduardo Sacheri La Noche de la Usina, with a screenplay co-written by Sacheri and director Sebastián Borensztein.
Fermin Perlassi lives in a small rural town in Argentina. He and his wife gather together some of their friends to form a cooperative in order to buy the long-desolate town granary. Scraping together the thousands of dollars that they need, they put them into a bank account the day before the Coralito. Things get even worse when they figure out that their dollars were actually stolen by a town dignitary, but they are unable to prove it. When they accidentally discover the vault where he has hidden the money, they make a plan to take back their power, and their savings.
Prolific Argentinian actor Ricardo Darín gives us a rounded character in Fermin. His strong on-screen presence is an anchor for the rest of the extraordinary ensemble which includes Daniel Aráoz, Germán Rodríguez, and Rita Cortese. Particularly hilarious are Alejandro Gigena and Guillermo Jacubowicz as the dumb but adorable Gómez brothers. Each character is almost worthy of a film on their own: as an ensemble, they are a comedic and narrative powerhouse.
Borensztein’s direction gives just the right balance of heist-tension, moving drama, side-splitting comedy, and social commentary.
Originally produced in 2019, Heroic Losers finally gets its Australian screen debut. And it was well worth waiting for.