Part of TIFF’s inaugural Primetime programme, highlighting the best in international television, the Argentinian eco-thriller Cromo caught my eye immediately. Screening only episodes one, two and eight of the series, the structure of the presentations was as intriguing as the premise itself. While there was much discussion leading up to the festival as to how this would work, the jump was done in a logical and surprisingly coherent way – a trailer of episodes 3 -7 seven was shown to give context without spoiling the central mystery.

Directed by Lucía Puenzo, Nicolás Puenzo and Pablo Fendrik, the twelve part series immediately hits the ground running. While conducting research in the South Pole, Diego (Guillermo Pfening) and his research partner Simon (Germán Palacios) get word that something has happened to Diego’s wife Valentina (Emilia Attias). A fellow scientist, it seems that Valentina had stumbled on a possible environmental crime in the rural swamp town of Corrientes. Covertly running a series of experiments on the town water’s supply, Valentina’s investigation begins to catch the attention of some local poachers who are uncomfortable with the young woman putting her nose where it does not belong. As Diego and Simon race to put the clues together, they start to see how deep the web of lies Valentina uncovered really goes.

Using numerous flashbacks to fill in the trios various time gaps, Cromo is a rather effective and intriguing thriller. The show does a solid job of setting up the characters and keeping their various conflicts at the forefront. While solving the central mystery is an important, the directors are clearly more interested in how the main characters navigate the increasingly dangerous situation they find themselves in. After all they are scientist not professional detectives. If there is any justice, Cromo will hopefully get picked up by a North American distributor and appear either on cable or a streaming service next year. Now that I have taken a sip from Cromo’s corrupt waters, I am eager to quench my thirst some more by drinking up the series in its entirety.

Friday, September 18, 8:45 PM, Scotiabank Theatre

Ticket information can be found at the TIFF website