As Chile prepares for the October 1988 plebiscite over the continued presidency of Augusto Pinochet, a slick ad man (Gael Garcia Bernal) shakes up the newly legalized TV commercial campaign against the dictator, getting the middle-aged executives to drop their grave imagery of the disappeared in favor of happy, up-with-people sentiment. If you can shake off the inherent grossness of mining the Pinochet years for yet another Mad Man-style deification of zeitgeist-grasping salesmen, this is moderately interesting stuff. Director Pablo Larrain, best known for his gray serial killer drama Tony Manero (2008), has chosen to print his footage in the smeary textures of late-80s VHS tape; it’s a bold aesthetic choice unmotivated and unmatched by anything in the script. In Spanish with subtitles.
R • 1 hour 56 min • 2013