In Luis Ortega’ s dramatized intriguing take on the Argentinian real-life convicted murderer, rapist, kidnapper and thief Carlos Robledo Puch he uses all the unwarranted violence to glorify the teenage killer. In the movie Carlitos, (Lorenzo Ferro) as he is called, is a baby-faced curly-haired pretty high school-student who has already become something of successful burglar when he hooks up with fellow student Ramón (Chino Darin).
The latent homosexual Carlitos is attracted to the girl-chasing older boy, but asides from some lustful looks and heavy breathing, nothing happens. However later on it is ‘straight’ Ramon who is happy to provide sexual services to a older gay businessman in return for him getting him a audition for a TV talent show.
Ramon’s parents are career criminals and are more than happy to not only teach an eager Carlitos all about guns, but soon partner with him in a robbery of a weapons store which results in a pile of cash, but also with Carlitos now being fully armed. It’s not long after when in the middle of a robbery that he coldly needlessly kills his first victim, and like all the others that follows he shows no sign of remorse or regret, and Ortega makes no attempt to add any sort of explanation.
This glorification of this young man who committed the majority of his violent crimes during a year-long spree at the tender age of 19 is a tough one to swallow. We never really learn about his drive or psyche or his callous attitude to taking life after life, and the camera seems to never want to go beyond the fact he was a very pretty boy. The film focuses on ‘how’ and never bothers with the ‘why’.
Ferro, making his movie acting debut, is pitch perfect as the cold-hearted young killer, and also in the cast Ortega has included talented veteran actors Cecilia Roth and Mercedes Morán who contribute real gravitas as the boy’s mothers.
Carlitos ….also known as The Angel of Death …. is still languishing in prison in Buenos Aires after 46 years which shows the severity of his crimes. Despite its misguided attempt to maybe make us think better of this serial killer, in the end it really seems to justify his punishment.