My short review published online in One Hundred Words Magazine [no longer available]:-

Carancho, the latest film from talented Argentinean director Pablo Trapero, is a bleak, severe drama which takes the audience on an unsettling but hugely rewarding cinematic journey.

In a Buenos Aries rife with casual corruption and extreme violence, Sosa is one of the shady compensation lawyers – ‘vultures’ – who prey on those injured in road accidents. However, when he meets Lujan, a young doctor, he tries to turn his life around.

This is a film of grim authenticity, with brilliant performances from leads Ricardo Darin and Martina Gusman, and an ending that will leave you stunned. Tough, uncompromising, but highly recommended.

For another take on Carancho, the review by Mar Diestro-Dopido in Sight and Sound (March 2012) takes a very different line from my own, as these extracts illustrate:-

Although Carancho attempts to meld social drama and love story with genre mechanics of a more straightforward action thriller, it never quite feels as if the various elements fully click, making for a bustling, formally agile yet unconvincing viewing experience.

The doomed-lovers narrative seems flat and predictable, and its principal characters underwritten, leaving both Darin and Gusman stranded.

…Carancho’s social and polictical comments are crushed under the film’s mannerisms and contrived oppression, sealed with a coda that turns the dial towards sensationalism.

I would agree, to some extent, that the coda section is a touch unconvincing, though I was happy to suspend disbelief, and I thought the last plot twist was brilliantly powerful. (By the way, I think Diestro-Dopido gets it’s absolutely right when he references Scorsese’s somewhat underrated Bringing Out The Dead.)

In contrast, here’s Peter Bradshaw writing in The Guardian:-

Some movies are described as explosive: this is positively eardrum-perforating. It’s a brutal but very smart contemporary noir from the Argentinian director Pablo Trapero, and it could be his best film to date, the clearest and most effective fusion of his dual gifts for realism and thrills.

The chaotic and violent finale is breathtakingly horrible, and all too appropriate for a group of people making a good living out of poor people being hit by cars. The final confrontation even has a little of the excitement of the failed heist in Reservoir Dogs.
Luján and Sosa have a Bonnie and Clyde heroism. Let’s hope Carancho isn’t remade. No Hollywood pairing would have a fraction of this steam heat.


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