Film Review: Azor

Ines and Yvan holing on to a rail

Historically, many European and North American businessmen have come unstuck trying to make deals in Latin America. This failure can be attributed to many factors. The area has a history of unstable and authoritarian governments. Corruption is often rife and legalities can seemingly fluctuate from person to person. Then there’s crime, which is normally fuelled by drug production and trafficking. The Cold War period was particularly challenging, as Azor attests.

Yvan (Fabrizio Rongione) arrive in Buenos Aires with his wife Ines (Stéphanie Cléau). The Swiss banker has his work cut out. The mysterious ‘Fell’, a partner in his private firm, has vanished, leaving a trail of unhappy customers in his wake. The taciturn and straightlaced financier must navigate the manicured gardens and wood-panelled halls of the rich and powerful, attempting to placate them whilst covertly trying to uncover the truth.

Azor is a terse political thriller which envelops its intrepid banker in layers of secrecy and danger. What works so well in writer/director Andreas Fontana’s debut feature is the willingness to operate in the dark. The web of intrigue unwinds slowly in the midst of a foreboding and febrile atmosphere. Rongione is the perfect foil. A mixture of quiet fear and hereditary assuredness. Azor is an offbeat and ambitious work. One which largely succeeds in maintaining a tense and brooding undertone.

Azor opens in UK cinemas on 29 October and will stream exclusively on MUBI from 3 December.

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