Argentine Neo-Noir Thriller ROJO Is a Sleeper Hit at the U.S. Box Office


Rojo, the third feature film by Argentine filmmaker Benjamín Naishtat, has become a summer sleeper hit having earned over $50,000 in its first two weeks of release. The film opened to very enthusiastic reviews at Film at Lincoln Center and the Quad Cinema in New York City on Friday, June 12, earning $12,479, a solid $6,240 per theater average, in its opening weekend according to Box Office Mojo.

Starring Darío Grandinetti (Talk to Her, Wild Tales), Andrea Frigerio, and Alfredo Castro (Pablo Larraín’s The Club, No, and Tony Manero), the film has since then expanded to Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. It is currently playing for a second consecutive week at Coral Gables Art Cinema and the Tower Theater in Miami, and is opening today at the Siskel Center in Chicago and the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.

Set in Argentina during the Dirty War, on the eve of the nation’s descent into a military dictatorship in the mid-1970s, Naishtat’s hypnotic and neo-noir drama follows Claudio, a renowned middle-aged lawyer living a seemingly picture-perfect life in a deceptively peaceful provincial city. One night, a stranger starts insulting Claudio in a restaurant for no apparent reason. The patrons support him; the stranger is humiliated and removed. Later that night, the stranger—determined to wreak a terrible vengeance— intercepts Claudio and his wife, Susana. Claudio then starts to move down a path of no return involving death, secrets, and silences—further complicated by the arrival of a Chilean private detective. 

With powerful performances from its leading cast, Rojo is a timely drama whose historical references hold eerie resonance for our contemporary political moment—suggesting social complicity in the unfolding of far-reaching authoritarian regimes. The film has been hailed as a "a striking moral thriller” (Manohla Dargis, New York Times) and as "a sophisticatedly entertaining reminder of our propensity for malevolent apathy." (Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times).