Watch The Trailer
Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Heroic Losers is an Argentine goat movie. I’m sorry, I’ll try that again — it is an Argentine caper
movie. Apparently, cabra is the Latin (and Spanish) word for goat, and goats caper, and that’s
where we get the English name for a story in which colourful characters perform some kind of
crime, or caper. Caper movies are hard. They have to be genuinely ingenious, and a detailed
plot often overshadows characterisation. But done well, they are always popular. They satisfy
everyone’s desire to get away with something scot-free, to equalise the bad luck that makes us
all losers. They’re about envy leavened by justice: the person or institution being robbed always
deserves it. Who didn’t want to see Andy Garcia go down in Ocean’s Eleven (and Twelve)?
In Heroic Losers, a group of otherwise lawful people from a sleepy town band together to crack
a vault owned by a local crook, Manzi (Andres Parra). Manzi stole their money in a corrupt deal
with the local bank manager.
Being Argentinian, the movie features Ricardo Darin. He is in all Argentine movies. Darin’s fame
is based not only on his gifts as an actor: he embodies the post-junta disappointment of all
Argentinians. He has a lived-in face like Bogart, but with the hooded eyes of a falcon. He looks
like he has seen every kind of betrayal. He’s perfect in the role of Fermin Perlassi, who has
persuaded his friends to throw their meagre savings into a scheme to restart their grain mill.
Here, Darin’s real son, Chino, plays his character’s son, Rodrigo, adding a sense of optimism.
The film deals in broad comedy, based on national stereotypes. Fermin’s friends range from
wise old dog Fontana to an explosives expert, who is a sandwich short of the proverbial, and
two brothers who came down in the last shower. Each has a specific role, based on areas of
expertise, as befits a “cabra” movie. There’s a clear debt to William Wyler’s 1966 classic, How
to Steal a Million, but it is acknowledged. Fermin is a movie buff, which is how he figures out
the method. It’s an amiable confection with a touch of cold fury at its heart.