Unpredictable actor-writer-director Enrique Pineyro turns his editing suite into an audio-visual complex to defend convicted murderer Fernando Carrera in the quirkily provocative “The Rati Horror Show.” One of the few filmmakers who can claim to have effected social change with a movie (namely his brilliant narrative debut, “Whisky Romeo Zulu,” which reformed Argentine aeronautic law), Pineyro uses cinematically charged evidence to press his argument that Carrera is a victim of gross judicial malfeasance. The director’s off-center wit softens his seething anger, which will help the pic’s options in fest and ancillary arenas.
Story is sneakily framed as a bedtime story told by a mom to her kids in the year 2023 about the terrible first decade of the new century. The viewer is then assaulted with a montage of TV news reports of blockades and police standoffs in Buenos Aires during a politically tense period in 2005, and of a multicar collision that killed three (two women and a child) and injured 12. Every report depicts the driver, Carrera, as a robber, fleeing pursuing police and mowing down pedestrians with no regard for human life. Bystander wrath is thick, and Carrera is convicted and given a 30-year prison sentence.
Pineyro then launches his fascinating, visually inspired defense. Pixelated black-and-white footage depicts the activities of a group of robbers just minutes before the accident — the actually intended object of the cops’ botched pursuit. Out of nowhere, miniaturized animation suddenly provides a street-level look at the fatal collision.
Pineyro clearly derives as much pleasure using his high-tech devices as he does making his case (certainly, Apple has seldom received as much free publicity as it does here, with the filmmaker’s editing suite stuffed with Apple devices of all sorts, from desktop screens and Macbooks to iPhones), though his discussion with editor German Cantore tends to make some of the director’s points harder to track than they should. At the heart of the case is the assertion that the police covered up multiple irregularities, tampered with evidence and discouraged eyewitness accounts, while prosecutors and judges dismissed several facts, among them that Carrera couldn’t be identified by witnesses.
Whether it all will be enough to set Carrera free (he remains behind bars, though his case is on appeal) is anyone’s guess. But if it works, Pineyro’s efforts to change the world by making movies will be an amazing two-for-two. The “Rati” in pic’s title is the Argentine Spanish slang equivalent of the derogatory “pig” for police in English.