In Diego Fernández’s The Broken Glass Theory (La Teoría de los Vidrios Rotos), Martín Slipak plays Claudio Tapia, a 35-year-old clever and ambitious claims adjuster for the Santa Marta Insurance Company in Montevideo. He has just done such a great job of settling a case that when he arrives at work, everyone in the office applauds him and congratulates him. Well, almost everyone. Claudio’s boss rewards him by putting him in charge of remote Region 15 on the border with Brazil.
The boss tells Claudio the position is an easy one because the company already has a representative there, so Claudio just has to oversee him and, perhaps, audit the situation. Claudio naively tells his wife that he expects to spend only 24 hours in the town to which he has been assigned.
But when Claudio arrives, the company representative is nowhere to be found, and the town has been plagued by a series of unsolved car burnings. Actually we, the viewers, know who is responsible—three teenage boys—although we don’t know why they are burning cars.
Soon Claudio finds himself caught in a crisis, as the victims of the car burnings demand compensation as soon as possible. Claudio encounters one eccentric or absurd character after another, including Servetto (Roberto More) the representative of the other insurance company, which is also losing cars. To Claudio’s surprise, Servetto treats Claudio more as an ally than as a competitor. While Claudio is recovering from a bad accident, it is Servetto who shares with him a photo that leads to the resolution of the case, which comes to a head in a courtroom scene.
The title comes from a theory that once a neighborhood experiences violence or crime, the violence and crime spread, even in a neighborhood previously free of crime, which is why Claudio concludes that there is more to the car burnings than just the three teenage boys.
The Broken Glass Theory is an entertaining comedy. One of the highlights is the soundtrack, which includes a series of mock ballads which at first appear to be traditional, but are actually humorous commentaries on the plot and its characters. The songs were composed by Gonzalo Deniz and performed by Humberto De Vargas.