Review: The Dose (La Dosis)

Written and directed by Martín Kraut, Marcos is an experienced nurse with a secret, he euthanises deteriorating patients which no chance of survival. His position becomes under threat when new nurse Gabrielle arrives, with a seemingly similar secret. Starring: Carlos Portaluppi, Ignacio Rogers, Lorena Vega, Arturo Bonín, Pablo Cano, Jonathan Da Rosa, Maitina De Marco, Germán de Silva and Julia Martínez Rubio.

The Dose is a slow starter, hitting a very everyday tone, it’s overtly understated, perhaps even to a fault. It’s an issue that persists throughout the film, where many may get across that they’re trying too hard, Kraut’s style feels like he’s not trying hard enough. The story calls out for an intense, dark thriller styled atmosphere but it simply never gets there. It does start to build tension but doesn’t give it the space to grow and make a sincere impact, instead proving rather unsatisfying. Its cinematography at times feels bland, its use of colour stays within a small box and never breaks out. It feels as though it significantly missed the mark of the more thrilling film it could have been.

Kraut’s writing is similarly problematic, the pace is exceptionally sluggish which could have worked with a more atmospheric tone. The story feels somewhat predictable, there’s no particular twist or turn that you can’t see coming easily. It’s also frustratingly formulaic, almost like a soap opera, pushing your buttons but never giving you a genuine reason to invest in its story. The character of Marcos (Portaluppi) isn’t overly relatable, he’s lacking any kind of charisma or significant personality, as well as being rather pitiful, without being too sympathetic. There are a few details that simply feel out of place, it puts effort into elements that are unnecessary and do nothing to further its impact.

Its performances are without doubt the strongest and most consistent element that the film has to offer. Portaluppi’s character of Marcos may not be the most energetic, but his performance brings an intensity that goes unmatched by the film’s style. Rogers provides a classic villain character, frustratingly in the way of our protagonist, pushing him down a dark path that he shouldn’t be anywhere near. It’s a sincere compliment to his performance how much you’ll hate his character. Vega provides a perfect middle ground, relatable and charismatic; it’s a shame that her character remains more on the outskirts rather than truly getting a chance to be invested and consequential to the story’s progression.

The Dose sets up a potentially dark and deliciously sinister story then loses its way down a tame and predictable road. The performances are strong but they can only achieve so much when the writing holds them in a rather restrictive space. The direction is overly stiff, it doesn’t have the skills to add a sincere tension or sense of danger to the atmosphere which is hard to ignore. It’s a frustrating waste of what could have been a satisfying and sharp thriller.

Verdict: ✯

Reviewed as part of BFI Flare

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