Carancho (15)

Film

Thrillers

Carancho.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Thu Sep 9 2010

He’s a crumpled ambulance-chasing legal worker. She’s a hard-pressed junior doctor doing too many paramedic shifts. They meet at the scene of a car accident, and the Hollywood take on this scenario would involve Clive Owen looking stubbly, Anne Hathaway trying to leave her goody-goody image further behind, a bit of intrigue, a touch of romance and – doubtless – a hefty dose of redemption.

Not in Pablo Trapero’s version. From the looks of it, redemption is in short supply in Argentina, and this brooding, gnarly, grown-up drama from the country’s hottest directorial talent is all the better for it. Being subtitled and somewhat sinewy, this inevitably will be tagged as an arthouse movie, yet it most resembles the conspiracy thrillers that Hollywood turned out in its 1970s golden age. Think Alan J Pakula and Francis Ford Coppola, ‘The Parallax View’ and ‘The Conversation’, tainted heroes, and an abiding sense of a system so mired in corruption the rest of us don’t stand a chance.

Certainly, ‘Carancho’ (it translates as ‘The vulture’) paints a grim picture of life on the roads and hospitals of Buenos Aires. The accident statistics are terrifying enough, but even scarier are the dubious legal scavengers feeding off the victims. These ambulance chasers, as represented by rumpled protagonist Ricardo Darín, sign up any poor schmuck who’s been in a hit-and-run, promise them a huge insurance pay-out, and then (needless to say) claim the bulk of the money for themselves. What makes the ever world-weary Darín one of the most charismatic leads on screen anywhere right now is his ability – manifested in accomplished Argentine offerings like ‘The Secret in Their Eyes’ and ‘Nine Queens’ – to play individuals who are seriously compromised, yet still manage to keep the viewer on-side, as we urge them to get it together and do the right thing.

Co-star Martina Gusman matches him every step of the way, and the characters’ attraction is born from a mutual instinct that they might just survive the wreckage of their lives if they cling together. Gusman, writer-director Trapero’s wife and co-producer, is an actress who insidiously inhabits a role (see her imprisoned mum in Trapero’s remarkable ‘Lion’s Den’), and again she is captivating here as an increasingly disillusioned junior medic fighting sleep-deprivation and her hospital’s warped management structure. As the forces of darkness envelop the lovers, Trapero’s plotting can seem overly deterministic and not quite as slick as it needed to be. Still, the desolate Edward Hopper nightscapes provide an effective context for a film where the question of how far someone can stray before they’re lost forever isn’t just a matter of narrative trickery but a genuinely soulful, gnawingly tense moral challenge.

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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Mar 2, 2012

Duration:

107 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Pablo Trapero

Screenwriter:

Pablo Trapero

Cast:

Ricardo Darín, Martina Gusman

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|6
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Peter Ludbrook

I finally caught up with this movie and I'm so glad I did. It is quite the bleakest, darkest movie I've seen in a long time. Totally engrossing from the opening shots and marvellously acted by the two main protagonists. the film exerted a powerful grip on this viewer. I must catch up with the director's other films.

Sutton

A gritty, thought provoking and particularly well acted film. Worth seeing, though it is brutal in places.

Paul Murphy

Terrific. New noir, taut, gripping and imaginative. Indeed like the 70s New Hollywood: The Conversation comes to mind for imaginative visuals paired with knockout sound design (for which Federico Esquerro deserves an Oscar) framing BA, like LA, in a trafficscape. Miles better than Amores Perros btw, better in fact than Nine Queens. And that was a geat film.

Paul Murphy

Terrific. New noir, taut, gripping and imaginative. Indeed like the 70s New Hollywood: The Conversation comes to mind for imaginative visuals paired with knockout sound design (for which Federico Esquerro deserves an Oscar) framing BA, like LA, in a trafficscape. Miles better than Amores Perros btw, better in fact than Nine Queens. And that was a geat film.

Robert Thornton

This film was ok but no Amores Perros. Sub-titles made it confusing in terms of who was who. No particular feel for the characters. Interesting that the same scam goes on in the UK but it is white collar.

DDT

Great film, original premise, tense roller coaster ride all the way to the finale, excellent performances. Well worth seeing at the festival.