'The Wrath of God' Review: Is The Netflix Thriller A Real Chiller?

The Wrath of God La Ira de Dios Macarena Achaga Luciana B Diego Peretti Kloster Netflix
Martin Kraut / Netflix

“The Wrath of God” is as ominous a film as its title suggests. The Netflix original movie is a morality story of sorts that is best served without knowing too much about it beforehand. Alternating between the past and the present, “The Wrath of God” (aka “La Ira de Dios”) unfurls a tale of tragedy, power, vengeance, and suspense.

Based on the book by Guillermo Martínez, “The Wrath of God” boasts huge literary chops. Martínez is the author of “The Oxford Murders,” which was adapted into a winning 2012 movie starring Elijah Wood and Leonor Watling. Considering the film’s exceptional background, it was impossible not to enter “The Wrath of God” with sizable expectations.

Set in Argentina, the Spanish-language movie opens at a highly attended book event for a famous and, as we later learn - enigmatic - author. In the opener, Kloster (Diego Peretti) is summoned to the balcony to speak to a woman. Once there, a mystery wrapped in another mystery begins to unravel one delicate strand at a time. The intrigue revolves around Kloster and his one-time assistant, Luciana (rising star Macarena Achaga, “Luis Miguel”).

A bad decision, a fateful reaction, and a twist of fate collide, creating a ripple effect with devastating consequences. “The Wrath of God” is a thought-provoking mystery that asks if there is a “who” that did anything? And if so, how, and more importantly, why? This rich, character-driven piece explores what it means to “even the scales,” the danger of blame, and the carnage of misconstruing correlation with causation.

You might recall that the last theme on that list became a recurring centerpiece in Johnny Depp’s defamation case against Amber Heard. Plus, anyone who follows true crime knows that investigations are often hampered by a puzzle piece appearing to fit through causation, only to learn it is a correlative. “The Wrath of God” would have a far different path if the main character had realized that.

What “The Wrath of God” so gently and effectively points out is how some humans’ inability to reflect on how denial and their well-intentioned decisions can have dire consequences that alter the trajectory of fate, and its falling dominos. So much in this story is accordingly filled with a degree of tragic misunderstanding that only Romeo and Juliet might fully comprehend it. Where does tragedy end and malice begin?

“The Wrath of God” begs some big questions, explaining the pointed ones, while leaving most of the philosophical answers up to the audience to determine. The Netflix film is not a classic thriller. It falls in the captivating vein of the Argentinean films “Blood Will Tell” (aka “La Misma Sangre”) and “Dark Buildings,” which is to say it is in fantastic company.

Intense performances by the cast make viewers feel the wrath of a suspenseful film and the mercy of an entertaining one with something to say. “The Wrath of God” is currently streaming on Netflix alongside many other sensational tales of suspense.