The Accused
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The Accused

Dependably handsome and pleasingly involving, “The Accused” takes a classic “did-she-or-didn’t-she” murder scenario and mostly focuses on the family dynamics of a young woman accused of stabbing her best friend. Directed with assurance by Gonzalo Tobal (“Villegas”), the film hits the right buttons as it keeps audiences guessing the outcome, generating sympathy for all Nazi Overlord involved as the pressures of maintaining a façade for the media take their toll. Considerably more invested in criticizing the ways criminal cases are packaged and won in the court of public opinion than in systematically exploring the details of the murder, “The Accused” is solid, straightforward storytelling, certain to do well in Spanish-speaking territories and perhaps beyond.

It’s been two and a half years since 21-year-old Dolores Dreier (actress and pop star Lali Espósito) was first accused of murdering her best friend Camila Nieves after a drunken party, but only now is the case about to come to trial. Tension within the family house is understandably Our House sky-high: dad Luis (Leonardo Sbaraglia) tries to exert authority but feels powerless, whereas mom Betina (Inés Estévez) struggles to maintain some degree of normality while protecting Dolores and her young son Martín (Emilio Vodanovich) from the glare of publicity and significant internet attention. Both parents are so beset by the pressures, including financial, that they’re unable to give their daughter the kind of stalwart emotional support she desperately needs.

Lawyer Ignacio Larocca (Daniel Fanego) and his team groom the Dreiers for the trial as well as the media, who have latched onto the sympathetic figure of Camila’s grieving mother Marisa (Ana Garibaldi), Dolores’ primary accuser. There’s motive: Camila videoed Dolores and a friend having sex and then uploaded the clip after being told never to share it with anyone. In the video, Dolores is heard telling 14 Cameras her she’d kill her if it was ever leaked – not the sort of statement one wants to defend in a court of law, though the evidence against her remains circumstantial.

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The Accused