Set in the hospitals of Argentina, La Dosis follows Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi), an introverted male nurse who spends his days and nights working tirelessly in the ICU. Passionate about his patients, Marcos wants what’s best for those under his care and has become a quiet leader amongst his co-workers. Things begin to change though when Gabriel (Ignacio Rogers) arrives on staff. As a first-time nurse, Gabriel has a lot to learn and Marcos decides to mentor him. However, as the two grow closer, Gabriel also begins to show his ambitious nature and appears to hide a sinister secret.
Directed by Martin Kraut, La Dosis is a solid neo-noir thriller that operates on a slow burn. Part classic Hitchcock, part Talented Mr. Ripley, La Dosis plays out less like a mystery and more like a classic cover-up film. While Kraut reveals fairly early on who the players are in this piece, he then spends the rest of the film moving them around on the chess board, leaving the viewer to watch as the two men attempt to out-maneuver one another. Although the film’s ending admittedly feels a tad lacking given its strong build up, Kraut weaves enough intrigue into the film to keep the viewer engaged throughout its runtime.
Anchoring the film is some excellent work by its two leads. As hard-working loner Marcos, Portaluppi remains both lovable and heartfelt, even when his actions stray into the realm of dishonest. Meanwhile, Rogers provides a charming menace to Gabriel that makes you want to like him yet never allows him to get to close. Together, the two men have wonderful chemistry onscreen that even contains an ambiguous tension between them. (For example, while we know their relationship is strictly professional, Kraut suggests that—maybe—at least one of them secretly thinks it may be something more.)
What’s most interesting about La Dosis is its conversation surrounding assisted death. Though both Marcos and Gabriel show their willingness to take a life, the film draws distinction between their motivations. Whereas one kills out of mercy, the other does so out of selfish ambition. In this way, Dosis shows offers empathy to the difficult decision to take a patient’s life for their benefit as opposed to grisly murder. (“She is suffering,” the film notes in an effort to justify the act.)
Yet, at the same time, Dosis never fully absolves either man for their actions. By tying the two suspects together, Kraut also suggests that neither act is fully justified, regardless of their motivations. In other words, though there is little doubt in the film who the true ‘villain’ may be, neither does Dosis make the other a hero. (Although, the film’s finale arguably refutes that point.) In Dosis, there’s a certain sense of moral ambiguity within the piece that highlights the difficult decisions made by nurses every day who struggle to do the best for their patients. Is helping a patient with weak vital signs to end their life considered murder? Or is it an act of mercy to those who are suffering? To its credit, La Dosis doesn’t offer any simple answers to any of the questions, which elevates the film.
Sharply written and (mostly) well-executed, La Dosis has all the necessary elements for those looking for a classic thriller. As Marcos and Gabriel play out their dangerous game, La Dosis shows its willingness to immerse the viewer in the darkness. However, so too does the film balance out its conspiracy with a conversation about a difficult topic that never feels heavy-handed.
In short, this is one dose worth taking.
La Dosis is available on VOD on Friday, June 11th, 2021.