Israel Ticas, the only criminologist in the country of El Salvador, is charged with excavating abandoned wells that are used as mass graves by the two biggest gangs in the country. Despite a supposed truce, people keep disappearing and he keeps finding bodies. He’s a lonely man trying to be the one measure of closure for those people who have lost a loved one.
Less about gang culture and violence and more of a portrayal of one man trying to make a difference, The Engineer is an interesting look at a man whose job quite thankless and potentially very dangerous one.
The stakes are never over dramatized with cheesy musical cues or suggestive editing, allowing viewers to see very simply the grim and often technically demanding day to day details of his job. Directors Juan Passarellii & Matthew Charles smartly stay out of his way and let the corpses that he finds and has to investigate do the talking. While it’s shocking how little the government cares and to see how many of these grieving families go straight to him with their burdens, it’s an immense credit that he takes them all on his shoulders.
It isn’t high drama in the purest, flashiest sense, but it’s certainly thoughtful and weighty. (Dave Voigt)
Thursday, May 1st, Scotiabank 4, 6:00pm
Friday, May 2nd, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, 3:00pm
Saturday, May 3rd, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3, 3:30pm