El Clan (2015)

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Pablo Trapero directs Guillermo Francella, Lili Popovich and Peter Lanzani in this Argentinian true crime story of a family who took to kidnapping for ransom during the political upheaval of the 1980s. 

Strong actors take on unsympathetic characters while the occasional brutal shock moment stop this from totally wearying the viewer. It is a tale not made for an international audience, assuming its target domestic audience will not require certain key information spelled out, so we, the secondary market, often feel adrift as to what is unspokenly going on in this moment of Argentine history. It appears that such crimes were unofficially accepted under the regime and even in the aftermath, an air that as long as the kidnappings remained unacknowledged then anyone could do it with impunity? Anyway as a viewer not au fait with that political climate I found myself adrift. There’s just not enough black humour or sustained tension to captivate while trying double guess what the bigger picture was, though the improving meals being used to symbolise the family’s returning fortunes is a nice human touch. A shame, as a good movie shouldn’t need footnotes.

5

 

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