‘La Dosis’ Review: Dictating Death

In this Argentine drama, a nurse who euthanizes patients grapples with a co-worker who would rather kill for fun.

By Lena Wilson

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From its first scene, “La Dosis” makes it clear that its taciturn protagonist, a nurse named Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi), privileges his own morals over professional decorum. Despite protests from doctors, he violates protocol to bring a flatlining patient back to life. The film soon muddles this decision, making its own story puzzlingly opaque.

After saving that patient, Marcos decides to euthanize her because he disagrees with the doctors’ treatment plan, which leaves her vulnerable to death by infection. This is not the first — nor last — time Marcos tries to put a patient out of their misery. When a mysterious new nurse, Gabriel (Ignacio Rogers), arrives, it seems he may expose Marcos’s misdeeds. Instead, his behavior excuses them by contrast. Gabriel is almost cartoonishly psychotic: He gleefully kills patients and tries to sexually assault the sole female nurse in their ward. Though Marcos might be accused of playing God, next to Gabriel he looks like an angel.

While zeroing in on these characters’ actions could have made for tense drama, “La Dosis” has too much else on its mind. The film quickly buries itself in a mountain of half-addressed complexities. Marcos has to search for new housing because his partner recently left him, but we learn nothing about that relationship. Though Gabriel tries to seduce Marcos — including by taking him to a gay bar — it is unclear if Marcos even dates men. “La Dosis” raises many such issues and plays out none of them, making for a frustratingly vague watch.

“La Dosis” harms itself by refusing lucidity. What should be a razor’s edge rivalry plays more like a hamstrung thriller.

La Dosis
Not rated. In Spanish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 33 minutes. Available to rent or buy on Google Play, FandangoNow and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.

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