'Two Shots Fired' ('Dos Disparos'): Toronto Review

Two Shots Fired
Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival
Very few chuckles punctuate a punishingly uneventful tale

A boy's family muddles through after a near-suicide

What might cause an ordinary, nice looking young boy to, having unexpectedly discovered a gun, pick it up and shoot himself? Two Shots Fired perhaps unwittingly offers an answer, filling its 103 minutes with so many diversions of such little consequence that the viewer himself might long for sweet release well before the end. Sometimes, deadpan observation of the mundane isn't Jarmuschian. Sometimes it's just dull.

After dancing all night at a club and getting up for a swim, Mariano (Rafael Federman) finds a rusty pistol while doing some chores. He looks it over calmly, then puts it to his head and shoots; the fact that he then does the same in his gut suggests the first shot might have missed.

Neither shot kills the kid, but when he gets back from the hospital his mother's on suicide patrol, burying implements of harm in the back yard, sending Mariano to live with his brother, and giving him a cell phone so she can keep track of him. And there's where this world becomes something to provoke self-harm.

Though the film shows snatches of Mariano's nearly affectless efforts to return to normalcy (the only highlight being meetings with a quartet of flute-playing early music buffs), it is infinitely more interested in the behavioral detritus of daily existence that most of us subconsciously work to forget as soon as it has ended: Whole minutes pass in which obsolete cell phones ring and can't be silenced; shopping lists are discussed; ice trays are refilled. People answer that shrill phone, say "it's for you," then have to pass messages back and forth for a person too lazy to take the receiver.

Two separate outings are planned from Buenos Aires's unfashionable neighborhoods to the beach at Miramar, but we spend all our time in the flea-infested little houses near the shore — listening to houseguests talk about how the traffic was on the way from the city. By this point, the movie has forgotten about its protagonist entirely, following a tangential non-plot with his mother, then driving off in her friends' car when she also proves dull.

Then a glossy German shepherd appears, one who looks a lot like the pet that ran off after Mariano shot himself. As if we needed to be told this story's a shaggy-dog joke.

Production company: Ruda Cine

Cast: Rafael Federman, Susana Pampin, Benjamin Coehlo, Camila Fabbri, Manuela Martelli

Director-Screenwriter: Martin Rejtman

Producers: Violeta Bava, Rosa Martinez Rivero, Bruno Bettati, Christoph Friedel, Jan van der Zanden

Executive producers: Violeta Bava, Rosa Martinez Rivero

Director of photography: Lucio Bonelli

Production designer: Mariela Ripodas

Editor: Martin Mainoli

Music: Diego Vainer

Sales: Ruda Cine, Buenos Aires

No rating, 103 minutes