Cromo is an eco-thriller, sans didactic tree hugging, packaging a message in the form of sustainable chills.
The Argentinian television series had its World Premiere as a TIFF feature September 13, splicing together episodes 1, 2 (and weirdly) 8 into a seamless, tight quasi feature with a few pacing issues here and there but picking up when required like a dashing Messi run.
The country’s northern ecosystem is being poisoned by heavy metals leeching into the water and is being besieged by capybara (carpincho) poachers. And a biologist’s (Valentina) mysterious “drowning” in the Iberá wetlands leads her estranged cuckolded husband, Diego, and her longtime lover Simon to abandon their Antarctic expedition and become an unlikely (and very antagonistic to one another), detective duo.
Simon doesn’t buy that Valentina, a talented swimmer and cautious researcher would perish in one meter of current-less river but husband Diego will initially have none of it.
The biologist was an instructor at the university, where a young student is tasked, no questions asked, with delivering the sample results of a mysterious package given to her by the deceased. She is being left out of the mystery, which of course draws her into it.
It’s a bit unfair to say, as the performances are universally dynamite, but Argentina is the star here. The country looks like Florida and the Apennines had a baby, from stunning mountain vistas to jungles and wetlands. It’s nice to see somewhere other than Buenos Aires getting star treatment.
The story unfolds languidly, with hothead poachers, scheming wildlife officers, and even more scheming as our duo, Diego and Simon seethe with hatred while attempting to collaborate.
Show creators Lucía Puenzo and Nicolás Puenzo, and co-director Pablo Fendrik each did different segments but their work flows, like the mighty Corrientes. Definitely worth a look.
**** (out of 5)