It’s the late 18th century. Don Diego de Zama is trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare in a godforsaken outpost on the Asunción coast. The despondent magistrate has been unable to secure a transfer allowing him to reunite with his family in far-away Lerma. Superiors dismiss him and underlings undermine him. A noblewoman he desires treats him with contempt. Perhaps his only option is to venture into the jungle and capture a notorious bandit. Lucrecia Martel (The Swamp, The Holy Girl) deftly combines existential drama, absurdist comedy and pungent political commentary in her adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto’s brilliant 1956 novel. Zama’s descent into a place beyond purgatory serves as a stinging critique of colonialism and entitlement.
Ms. Martel has a wonderful eye and can generate tension as much from the arrangement of bodies in a frame and scene as from any spoken line. – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Lucrecia Martel's imperialism takedown is a slow-burn masterpiece. – David Fear, Rolling Stone